Homily – Second Sunday in Lent, Year A

2nd Sunday in Lent, Year A
Genesis 12:1-4a
2 Timothy 1:8b-10
Matthew 17:1-9
March 16, 2014

God tells us Abram (Abraham) to leave the land he has known and his father’s house to go to “a land that I will show you.”

Abram could have asked a lot of questions.  Where is this land?  What am I supposed to do when I get there?  Why leave here?  What will it be like and what will I need to take with me?

Abram doesn’t ask any of that.  He doesn’t ask anything.  We are simply told that “Abram went as the Lord directed him.

Abram had a great faith in the Lord.  Won’t it be nice to have that same faith?

Paul writes to Timothy, “Bear your share of hardship with the strength that comes from God.”  We like to think that if we just believe in Jesus, then we won’t have any problems.  Unfortunately, that isn’t the way it works.  In fact, it can actually add to our hardships because people ridicule us for our faith.

Oh, to have the faith of Abram.

There are various stories in the Bible and even today in the lives of the saints for those who persevered in faith.  There are also stories of those whose faith wasn’t perfect.

Peter became the first among the Apostles but his faith was not perfect.  When Jesus asked the disciples “But who do you say that I am?”, Peter was the one to say “You are the Christ” showing a strong faith but then immediately Peter rebukes Jesus.  Peter has faith but it is an imperfect faith.

Jesus was going up on the mountain to pray and he takes Peter, James, and John with him.  Why?  Jesus wants them to see what happens!

And what happens is not small thing!

Jesus is transfigured!  His face shone like the sun and his clothes became dazzling white.  In essence, he was transfigured so that Peter, James, and John could see Jesus as he really is in his glory.

That alone would have been an incredible site to see.  But that isn’t all they saw.  With Jesus standing there in his glory, Moses and Elijah appeared there with him.

To see Moses and Elijah would have been incredible by itself but with Jesus transfigured it serves to reveal who Jesus really is.  Moses is the image of the Law, the Law that was given by God.  Elijah is one of the great prophets, deliverers of God’s message.

Moses and Elijah standing there with Jesus serve as confirmation that Jesus is not some random prophet but comes in fulfillment of the Law and the prophets.

Imagine yourself standing there.

Peter is amazed and says “Lord, it is good that we are here.”  That much is clear but Peter continues, “If you wish I will make three tents here.

It may seem silly to us that Peter would speak of putting up tents when Jesus is standing transfigured before him with Moses and Elijah.  Two thoughts, first this could be a reference to the Feast of the Tabernacles.  Secondly, I would suspect that Peter is so stunned by what he sees that he doesn’t know what to say but feels he must say something.  He realizes he is in the presence of something incredible.

Would we feel or do any different?

Jesus was transfigured to be seen as who he truly is.  We hear this reading today in the context of Lent.  Lent is about conversion so we can listen to this passage asking ourselves what it is we need to change in our lives, how do we need to be transfigured.

It isn’t easy to make changes in our lives.  It takes a great faith and Jesus wants us to have this great faith.

Jesus knew Peter did not realize what it meant to say Jesus is the Messiah.  Jesus knew Peter’s faith was weak.  That’s why he allowed Peter to see him transfigured.

Jesus knows our faith is not perfect.  That is why the Holy Spirit inspired the gospel writers to write down stories like the Transfiguration so that we might understand who Jesus truly is so that we might have a great faith in him.

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