Deacon Newton’s Homily — 2nd Sunday of Lent

The Gospel today is about the Transfiguration, an account of Jesus we have heard many times over the years. Peter, James and John were gifted with experiencing the glory of Jesus’ divine purpose. With Jesus being seen conversing with Elijah and Moses, it brings to light that Jesus himself is the incarnate Law, where Moses represents the Law and Jesus is the culmination of all the wisdom of the Prophets where Elijah represents the Prophets. Jesus’ mission comes to fruition in his death and resurrection. He made it very clear to Peter, James and John not to tell anyone about what they witnessed until he had risen from the dead, but they did not know what was going on and questioned what rising from the dead meant.


Their questioning is a very important point in the readings today. We don’t always get the answers to our questions when we want them, but through faith and trust in the love of God, we carry on. The revelation of Jesus coming into this world to save us from the death of sin is of course a key point, but the revelation that we must cooperate with God in attaining the ultimate gift it provides us, is not obvious at first. The gift of Jesus rising from the dead is the gift of life after death for all of us. Our cooperation with God is the key to the realization of this ultimate gift of living for all eternity in the presence of our Lord and God.


What does it mean for us to cooperate with God? It means we must live a life of faith and trust in God and demonstrate it through how we live our lives. It starts with us asking God for faith and trust in Him no matter what we face in life. It means that God comes first in all things, even if we cannot make any sense out of it. We see this in the First Reading where Abraham’s faith and trust is tested by God when He instructs Abraham to sacrifice his son for Him.


We have also heard this reading many times before, but have we taken the time to understand how it applies to us today? What if God tested us as He did Abraham? Could you sacrifice your child for God? It is very hard to put your head around that. First it is hard to understand why God would even ask that. Then to actually carrying it out seems like an impossible thing to even contemplate.


It may make you uncomfortable but try to put yourself in Abraham’s shoes. This may help us better understand what Abraham must have been feeling in the First Reading. God told him to take the life of his son. He lived this reality up until the moment God spared his son. Can you imagine the anguish he must have felt?


You love your child so much that you would take the place of your child in a second, no questions asked. For those that have lost a child, they understand this in a profound way. But that is the point, the choice to sacrifice yourself rather than letting your child die is a far easier choice, one would willingly die for someone they love. The real test is if you can sacrifice the most precious thing in your life, something more important to you than even your own life. There would be nothing harder than losing a child except taking their life yourself as was expected of Abraham. It is important to try to embrace that anguish.

Now relate that to God the Father. He sacrificed His only begotten Son to save us. He loves us so much that He chose us over the life of His Son. That is the love that God is looking for in us. That is why God told Abraham to sacrifice his son. It is that depth of love God is looking for in us. Then and only then will we be able to only scratch the surface of the depth of God’s love for us.

Lent is a time for us to look deep into ourselves and examine if we have the faith and trust in God’s love for us as did Abraham. This can sometimes make Lent an uncomfortable time for us if we take to heart opening ourselves up to our true spiritual shortcomings and trying to overcome them. Remember Abraham believed that God is the God of life not death. This is what uplifted his faith and trust in God.

Now take a moment and test yourself. Would you be able to sacrifice the life of your child for God? Do you have the depth of faith and trust in God to love Him above all other things, even the life of your own child? That is the litmus test. We are to pray and strive for the spiritual strength to have the depth of faith and trust to choose God over everything and anything else, even the thing that we hold most dear to our heart.

Can we love God as He loves us, so much so that He sacrificed His only begotten son for us? We can only try, but we must have the faith and trust in His love for us even when things make no sense to us in our lives. The questions in life of why me, such as: Why did this senseless thing have to happen? What good can come from this tragedy? I am not saying that you will ever make any sense out of it in this life, but if you truly have the faith and trust in God’s love for you, and you choose God over all things in this life, the sufferings and sacrifices made by you will lead to an eternity of joy with God and your loved ones.

God’s love for us is beyond our understanding, so don’t expect to understand it now, but with the faith and trust in His love, you will come to understand the why’s of this life in the life to come. You will experience it through your personal death and resurrection to new life as gifted to us through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

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