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2nd Sunday in Lent, Year B – Homily

2nd Sunday in Let, Year B
Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
Romans 8:31b-34
Mark 9:2-10
March 1, 2015

I’m not sure which is more astonishing to me, that God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac or that Abraham was willing to do it without hesitation.

Abraham had waited so long for a son.  Given the age of Sarah at the time of Isaac’s birth, clearly this was possible only by divine intervention.  Abraham saw Isaac as a gift from the Lord.  He could have wondered why God would now take the gift away.

Abraham doesn’t wonder.  Abraham does what God asks.  Of course, the good news is that God stops Abraham before Isaac is sacrificed.  In gratitude for God withdrawing His request, Abraham sacrifices the ram.

Abraham serves as a model of faith for us but we should realize that Abraham’s faith wasn’t always perfect.  Do you remember Haggai (Sarah’s servant) and Ishmael?  Abraham always had faith but his faith and trust grew.

With the birth of Isaac, Abraham knew he could count on God to always keep His promises, every when it seemed impossible.

What does Paul say?  “If God is for us, who can be against us.”  Paul wasn’t always a good Christian.  In fact, he was among those who persecuted the Christians but Paul allowed God to change him.

Do we need to change?

Looking at the gospel, we read of Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain.  Jesus is both human and divine.  Normally, his physical appearance was human but here Peter, James, and John were allowed to see Him in his divine form, the glory that we will see in Him in Heaven.

We are created to be with Jesus in His glory but we are not ready, are we?  What sins have we committed?

As Catholics with a belief in the Real Presence in the Eucharist, we should be very much aware of the words that are said in the Eucharistic Prayer asking God to send His Holy Spirit upon the bread and wine that they may become the Body and Blood of Jesus.  Are you also aware of words in the Eucharistic Prayers that ask God to transform us like “so that the human race may become holy, just as you yourself are holy”?

We are to be transformed by the Eucharist we receive, so that we live as members of the Body of Christ.

All of the sacraments are about us being transformed.

In Baptism, we are made children of God.  In Marriage, two become one flesh.  These Sacraments happen once but we are in need of ongoing transformation in our lives.

Confirmation is seen as a sacrament of maturity.  Sometimes that is interpreted to mean we know all that we need to know.  We don’t.

For instance, our RCIA participants have been working to learn more about what our faith teaches and how we are to live.  At the Easter Vigil, they will complete their Sacraments of Initiation but it will not be an end.  It will be a new beginning of life in Christ.

Even after Baptism, Confirmation, and First Eucharist, we remain imperfect.  We still need to grow in our relationship with Jesus.  We need to be continually transformed so that one day we can be in Heaven and share in Jesus’ glory revealed in the Transfiguration.

It isn’t easy.  God knows that and gives us the Sacrament of the Eucharist to strengthen us.

God knows we are imperfect.  He knows we sin and so He gives us the gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation where he transforms us so that we might be restored to right relationship with Him.

The battle against temptation is ongoing.  It is a battle that we cannot win on our own but if we give our whole self to Jesus, He can redeem us but, again we need to turn our whole lives over to Him.  Abraham did not hold anything back, including his own Son.

Is there something we hold back on?

God holds nothing back when He gives his Son for us.

The battle of life in this world can seem like too much for us to win but God is on own side and if God is for us, who can be against us.

Let us turn our whole lives to Him who saves us.

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