Greetings on this the Second Sunday of Lent
Readings: Gn 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18; PS 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19; Rom 8:31b-34; Mk 9:2-10
Note: This was given as a homily yesterday at the Vigil Mass. Generally, it was not well received. I reflected on that and added points to strengthen the central theme: Jesus is the center of all true Christian thought.
All week last week… Matthew Chapter 5 – the ethics chapters.
Tuesday – In praying, do not babble like the pagans and again If you forgive men their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.
Wednesday – This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah.
Thursday – Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.
Friday – You have heard that it was said … but I say to you…
Saturday – You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father.
Remember Compunction (a willingness to be pierced) was the theme last Sunday as we are in the first 21 days of Lent (except Sundays). A period within the season of Lent where we are open to a radical change in our perspective on ethics, morals and the salvation mission of Jesus,
We must conclude that to his listeners (which includes us) did not understand the deeper meanings of the law and prophets and further have created a parallel but harmful set of precepts.
I gave the example of the Castrati. If you are unaware of it you can either look it up or ignore. Simply put, it was a practice that while attempting to be holy was not holy at all.
1st Reading – Abraham and Isaac
What God ISN’T asking you to do… sacrifice your Son. While children sacrifice was common way to appease the gods or to seek favor and resolution to problems, this is not the way of the Divine.
As Abraham looked about, he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket.
So he went and took the ram and offered it up as a holocaust in place of his son.
Abraham and Isaac had faith in the Lord and in his eventual restoration to life so while they would not be naturally happy to die, they held to the promise. Deep faith indeed!
Compunction – what things or habits have we created that are not of the Divine and do not draw people closer to God but push them away?
Letter to the Romans
Only God can judge. What I am saying in this homily is for us and about us. We must have compunction but with the sure knowledge that God is the true judge. We can only act according to conscience and our best understanding of Jesus.
Story present in all the Synoptic gospels. A very important story.
Elijah and Moses (Prophet and Law Giver, both in heaven) Peter, James and John – witnesses of heaven and earth to the Rabbi Jesus.
Jesus is transfigured and attested to by the Father:
This is my beloved Son.
Listen to him.
I gave this example to the RCIA class earlier in the week.
Jesus says to the man, ‘Your sins are forgiven”. Opposition arises. OK. “So you may know the Son of Man has the power to forgive sins… he says to the paraplegic, ‘Rise take up your mat and go’.
So you my KNOW.
I instantly heal him.
Now, there is no reason to believe I cannot forgive sins.
He charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant.
Everything Jesus said is proofed by his resurrection. Therefore every ethical and moral teaching of Jesus must be reengaged in light of the resurrection.
Further, the LAW and the PROPHETS must also be reengaged in light of the resurrection.
Jesus is saying we need to go through a compunction because we have falsified the law and prophets outside of the Messiah and his teachings.
The ethical teachings continue.
Monday – Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you.
Tuesday – For they preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them.
Wednesday – whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Thursday – If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.
Friday – The tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned.
Saturday – Prodigal Son story. A story of the loving Lord in forgiveness of the wayward son. Here, if you read up to now, is where you should remember too that Jesus is saying God is a forgiving Lord. In light of the resurrection, we should have supreme hope in this promise of forgiveness.
In case you are wondering, the definitive shift in message of Lent begins on the Friday of the Third Week of Lent where the Gospel message ends with:
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
Peace be with you,