Homily for second Sunday of Lent, A
Today as we celebrate the second Sunday of Lent, we are reminded once again to be renewed, to be transformed like Jesus Christ. Jesus was transformed on a mountaintop, he took with him three of his apostles; 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, 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 invitation to our own transformation, this transformation needs faith. Jesus asked, 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, it is the faith Abraham had that made him travel unfamiliar road. 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 too face so many challenges as we journey through the face of the earth. But Abraham’s faith kept him going, and it is by holding on to this faith in good and in bad times that we see the glory of God.
Abraham was not with the three apostles on the mountaintop when Jesus was transfigured, yet he saw the glory of God because he believed. The glory of God is not seen only on the physical mountaintop, it can be seen anytime and anywhere by faith; this mountaintop can be brought to your living room by faith. The glory of God is the fullness of his beauty, the fullness of his power, his riches and everything that 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 said to the apostles that he must suffer and die, 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 help them prepare for the death he talked about. He allowed them to see his glory so they can face the scandal of the cross, he allowed them to see his glory so that if they see him on the cross on Good Friday, they would know that he allowed himself to be crucified. On the mountaintop, God prepared their minds for the events of Good Friday.
Martin Luther King Jr. was not 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. Like Abraham, Martin Luther was not there with the apostles but by faith they had the mountaintop experience. 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 climb the mountain and gain nothing, let us not climb the mountain and see nothing. This is the season of grace and of renewal, the Church has given us the opportunity 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, let us look into our past from this mountaintop and also 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 surly come down from our own mountaintop experience, but we must let the fruit of the season continue to remain with us.