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Homily for second Sunday of Lent B

24 Feb 2018, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Sermons

We are reminded once again today to be renewed, to be transformed. Jesus took three of his apostles, Peter, James, and John, and led them up the mountain where he was transformed or transfigured in their presence.trans 1 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 (Mk.9:5). 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).

The transfiguration of Jesus Christ is a call or an invitation to our own transformation, and 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). It is that belief Abraham had that made him ready to sacrifice his only Son when God asked him to, and because he believed he saw 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. God’s glory is the fullness of his beauty, the fullness of his power, the fullness of his presence, 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 indeed bless you, and I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand on the seashore. And your descendant shall possess the gate of their enemies, and by your descendants shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves, because you have obeyed my voice. (Gen.22:17-18). This blessing was possible because Abraham believed.

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 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. trans 2I 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 do not fear] 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 they both 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, 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. We must look, not just over, but into our lives. We must look back and front. Where did I go wrong? Where am I going? Am I still on the right track? We must make amend especially this season of Lent, and be transformed, and we must not come down the same.

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 lenten season will be over, we all will surely come down from our own mountaintop experience, but must let the fruits of the season remain with us.