Sunday, February 25, 2018

A Homily for 2nd Sunday in Lent

When EF Hutton speaks, people listen!  Do you remember this TV commercial?  This investment firm’s advertising campaign implied that every word EF Hutton spoke was important, so people listened and took action.  If they listened carefully, the client made money.
In our lives, people speak, we listen, perhaps we take action and the result has some benefit in our lives.  We were taught to listen to our parents, teachers, coaches and our boss.  When we got married we learned early on that part of the formula for a great marriage includes listening.  When we come to church, we should be listening too.  Unfortunately many studies tell us that listening is a struggle for us.  All too often we want to speak and not listen.  There is a reason God created us the way he did; he created us to listen because He gave us two ears and only one mouth.
As people of faith, we are called to listen to Jesus. God speaks: this is my beloved Son.  Listen to Him! 
Every 2nd Sunday in Lent the Church gives us the Gospel of the Transfiguration!  The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke all detail the Transfiguration and each account is remarkably consistent.  In each account of the Transfiguration we hear the voice of God the Father.  Now we only hear God’s voice twice in all of the New Testament, once at the Baptism of Jesus (where He reminds us that in Jesus He is well pleased) and at the Transfiguration (where He tells us listen to Him). 
In the context of the Gospel of Mark, which we heard proclaimed today, the command listen to Him is to be understood as all the Good News of the Kingdom of God as proclaimed by Jesus.  If we want to know the Good News, if we want to share eternal happiness one day with God in Heaven, we must listen to Him!
In all the Gospel accounts of the Transfiguration we have the appearance of both Elijah and Moses.  The presence of Elijah and Moses embodies all of the Old Testament, the law and the prophets.  The Good News proclaimed by Jesus is deeply rooted in the Old Testament Scriptures.  We are called today, in hearing again the Gospel of the Transfiguration, to embrace all of the Scriptures; the New Testament and the Old Testament!  We are challenged to read and delve deeply into the Bible and listen! 
Listen to Him is not a mere suggestion from God; this truly is the path to glory.  The glory that shone forth from the transfigured body of Jesus Christ at Mt. Tabor is the same glory that stretched out His arms for us on that Cross, the same glory that burst forth in the Resurrection and the same glory present in His Holy Word, the Scriptures, and that perfect glory present in the Eucharist, His Body and Blood, which we receive at Holy Communion in the physical appearance of bread and wine.
Of course, this is not mere bread and wine.  Today we hear the word Transfiguration in the Holy Gospel but as Catholics we should be very familiar with the word Transubstantiation.  This is the word, given to us by the Church to describe the changing of the bread and wine into His Body & Blood.  The words and actions of the Priest at the Consecration, the bread and wine become the actual, the real Body and Blood of Jesus while maintaining all the physical appearances of bread and wine.  It is a mystery of our faith and a real and present reality.  We are challenged to know not what we receive at Holy Communion; we are challenged to know who we receive at Holy Communion!  And we are challenged to receive Him worthily, by being properly disposed, properly prepared and spending all of our time before receiving Holy Communion listening to Him!
In the week ahead, as we continue our Lenten journey, our challenge is to LISTEN.  Can we ask ourselves throughout the week, do I really listen to Jesus?  Do I follow what He teaches?   Can we commit this week to listen to Jesus by reading the Bible at least twice this week?  Reread today’s readings perhaps tomorrow and read next Sunday’s readings at the end of the week.  Listen to what His Word is saying to me personally.  We have an opportunity to listen to Him next if we attend our Lenten Mission.  Another of the wonderful Priests from the Fathers of Mercy will be with us next weekend then Monday through Thursday.  This is a prime example of God calling us to listen, but we must accept the invitation!  And we can listen to Him in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  As we confess our sins listen to the words spoken by the Priest, giving us our penance and absolving our sins.  And when you really listen carefully, you hear Jesus for it is Jesus forgiving our sins.
Yes, when EF Hutton spoke, people listened.  Guess what?  EF Hutton is no longer in business today.  When Jesus speaks, we are called to listen!  Listen to Him!  Jesus is not out of business and never will be; we should always listen to Him!

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