2nd Sunday of Lent, Year C (2022): Gen 15:5-12;17-18; Phil 3:17-4:1; Lk 9:28b-36
Sunday, March 13, 2022
Homily Notes for the 2nd Sunday of Lent, Year C (2022): Gen 15:5-12;17-18; Phil 3:17-4:1; Lk 9:28b-36
· I will never forget the most incredibly starry sky I have ever witnessed! It was while camping in a remote part of SW Wyoming, near the Colorado border. The landscape is rocky desert, complete with interesting hoodoo formations and very far from any major city and its light pollution.
· I stepped out of my tent around 2 or 3am and in the cool desert night looked up to see the heavens filled with so many stars it was beyond my ability to even begin to count them. Space seemed infinite yet filled with celestial beauty and I felt very small in the presence of such vastness.
· I am grateful God allowed me to witness the glory of his High Heavens and allow me to experience the complete opposite of what Abram experienced when God asked him to look up into the sky and count the stars, if he was able.
· Many have imagined Abram in this biblical scene looking up into a radiant starry night sky, not unlike the one I witnessed, yet they did not carefully read this passage of Genesis since it says that it was after Abram was asked to count the stars that he was asked to offer sacrifice and THEN night came, he fell into a trance and God affirmed him He would possess a great land and nation from descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven.
· This means that when he was asked to count the stars, he was asked to do so in the middle of the day, looking up into an endless blue sky, blinded by the sun and well aware not a single star could be observed. Yet Abram knew the stars were there, veiled from his eyes but dwelling above in number beyond counting.
· Thus he understood the promise of his descendants forming the people of God was not something he could readily perceive or understand but in faith He was to trust in the ways of the Lord and the fidelity of God to make good on the promise He had made.
· So often our relationship with the Lord is trying to count the stars during the day when they are veiled and not during the night when in a clear sky they are easy to observe and strike us with wonder. God often asks us to put a somewhat blind faith in him because faith is as the Letter to the Hebrews taught is “confidence in things hoped for and assurances about things we do not see.”
· It is important for us to be honest with God in saying we are lead by faith that places trust in many things we cannot see and understand. He is continually leading us outside to count the stars during the daytime when we are confronted with challenges we do not know how to overcome, with strained relationships that are going from bad to worse and witnessing so many horrible events of violence and destruction around the world without God seeming to intervene to save those He loves. He asks us to trust when it feels reasonable to doubt and to believe when so many do not think that God cares.
· Yet if the majority of most of our Christian life feels spent trying to count the stars in the bright blue sky, there are also those passing moments that he affirms us in showing us his plans and letting us delight in the bright starry nights of his love.
· The Transfiguration was one such moment! The divinity of Jesus was veiled from the Apostles. They followed him on account of the miracles and teachings he offered but had not yet perceived the glory of the Word made flesh. They walked with him under the blue sky of faith but could not see the star of his glory.
· But on that mountain top he allowed the chosen 3 to have a glimpse of the one who created all the stars of heaven that Abram eventually was able to see and know that the Church would in time fulfill the promise of Abram of forming a people from every tribe, people, language and nation, billions of billions baptised Christians who would walk the path of faith in God with the hope of become citizens of Heaven, which St. Paul affirmed the Philippians was the destiny of those who followed God, in faith, when uncertainty and doubt abounded and who did not see with their own eyes the Transfigured Lord who reigns on high.
· Our Lenten pilgrimage is an opportunity to ask for a renewal of faith in our Christian life. Renewal in those times our faith is tested and the temptation to give up on God and the Church is strong, and renewal in those times our faith is strong and we know God is near but might keep those joys to ourselves when there is such a need to share these joys with those who may have little to no faith in their hearts.
· May our Transfigured Lord, who on Good Friday will once again veil his divinity in the crucifixion but reveal it again on Day of Resurrection, inspire us to continue in our Lenten works, reminding us that whatever renewal we can experience in this time is one step closer to us being one day raised with him, pushing aside the blue skies where the stars are veiled to enter the glory of heaven that surpasses even the most spectacular starry night of wonder.