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Homily for second Sunday of Lent, A

07 Mar 2020, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Sermons

Today’s celebration reminds us once again of the Lenten call to be renewed and transformed like Christ who let three of his apostles see an amazing transformation of himself at the mountaintop. He took with him Peter, James, and John and led them up the mountain where he was transformed or transfigured in their presence. They saw his glory, the glory of God, and wished to remain in his presence. Moses and Elijah appeared and were talking with Jesus, and Peter said, Rabbi, it is wonderful for us to be here; so, let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. They wished to remain in the glory of God; no wonder the Psalmist says that a day in the house of God is better than a thousand elsewhere (Psalm 84:10). God’s presence is amazing and comforting. It is salvation, and that is where he calls us to be, in his presence.

The transfiguration of Jesus Christ is a call or an invite to our own transformation, a transformation that requires faith. Did I not tell you that if you would believe, you would see the glory of God? (Jn. 11:40). By faith, we see the glory of God. Abraham had faith in God and carried by that faith, he travels an unfamiliar road as we heard in our first reading. He was called out of his familiar territory to a land he knew nothing about. He may have had troubles on the way just as we face turbulences in our journey of faith. Abraham’s faith in God kept him going, and holding onto that faith in good and in bad times reveals the glory of God in our lives.

Certainly, Abraham wasn’t there at the mountaintop when Jesus was transfigured, yet he saw the glory of God because he believed. The glory of God is not restricted to the physical mountaintop; it is seen anytime and anywhere by faith; this mountaintop can be brought to your living room by faith. God’s glory is the fullness of his beauty, the fullness of his power, his riches, and everything he is. Because Abraham believed, he saw the glory of God manifested in his blessing. God said to him; I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name so famous that it will be used as a blessing. I will bless those who bless you: I will curse those who slight you. All tribes of the earth shall bless themselves by you.

When Jesus informed his apostles of his impending passion and death, Peter refused to accept it; you cannot die; he said (Mk. 8:31-32). Six days later, Jesus took Peter, James, and John up the mountain to see his glory. This was to prepare them to accept the death he talked about. He allowed them to see his glory that they might be prepared to face the “scandal” of the cross and not be “scandalized.” He allowed them to see his glory that they might see the freedom with which he accepts the events of Good Friday; he let himself be crucified that we might be saved.

Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t there when Jesus was transfigured, but on the 3rd of April, 1968, he delivered a speech that happened to be his last, and he titled it, “I’ve been to the mountaintop.” He said, like anybody, I would like to live – a long life; longevity has its place. But I am not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I have looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. So, I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.  Abraham and Martin Luther weren’t there with the apostles, but they had the mountaintop experience by faith. The mountaintop is where we are blessed, the mountaintop is where we look over to see the future with faith, and the mountaintop is where we see the glory of God. The season of Lent is a great opportunity for us to be at the mountaintop to see, to experience, and to look over. Let us not go up the mountain and gain nothing; let us not climb the mountain and see nothing. This is the season of grace and renewal; the Church has allowed us to climb and remain at the mountaintop for forty whole days. Let us look from this mountaintop to see the many areas of our lives where we have failed God and man, look into our past from this mountaintop, and look into the future with hope in Christ Jesus.

The apostles did not remain at the mountaintop even though they wished to; they came down. They came down with the power of the glory of God. So also, Abraham came down from his mountain of faith, and the blessings of his mountain top experience remained even with his descendants to this day. Martin Luther came down from his mountain of faith, and the blacks in America are enjoying the fruits of his mountaintop experience.

The season of Lent will be over, and we all will surely come down from our own mountaintop experience, but we must let the fruit of the season continue to remain with us.

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