Homily for the second Sunday of Lent Year B

In our first reading we see how God tested Abraham, God said to him “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.” (Gen. 22:2). So, God led Abraham to a mountain top.

In the book of Deuteronomy 32:48-49, God instructed Moses to ascend one of the Mountains of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, and from there God showed him the Promised Land. 

In our gospel passage for today, Jesus led three of his apostles to the mountaintop, mount Tabor, to experience his transfiguration, they saw the transformed Jesus, and they saw the glory of God. And on the 3rd of April, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. 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. 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 do not fear] any man. My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

So, what is it about mountaintop? In the Scriptures, we find numerous accounts of significant events taking place on mountaintops. Moses received the Ten Commandments atop Mount Sinai, enveloped in the presence of God. Jesus withdrew often to the mountains to pray, seeking communion with the Father, and Jesus was tempted on a mountaintop from where he was shown the kingdoms of the world. There must be something special about the mountaintop, it is prophetically more than climbing an elevated portion of the earth, there is something about the mountaintop. Yes, the mountaintop represents moments of revelation, where we catch glimpses of the divine purpose and presence in our lives. It is a place where we are invited to climb higher, ascend beyond the material concerns of daily life, and draw closer to the source of all truth and beauty.

Our Lenten journey can be likened to the mountain-top experiences, a time to intensify our communication with the Father through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit, a time to see the glory and mercy of God. This is the time to be equipped spiritually to face the crosses or storms of life, for that was the purpose of the transfiguration.

When Jesus had said to the apostles that he must suffer and die, Peter refused to accept that fact but insisted that Jesus could not die (Mk. 8:31-32). Six days later, Jesus took Peter, James, and John up the mountain to see his glory. This was to help prepare them for the ‘scandal’ of the cross; he allowed them to see his glory so that if they saw him on the cross on Good Friday, they would know that he sacrificed himself. On the mountaintop, God prepared their minds for the events of Good Friday.

As we climb the mountain of Lent, let us let ourselves be prepared and made strong to bring the mountain-top experiences to our parishes, homes, offices, and daily lives. We only need to believe as Jesus said to Mary the brother of Lazarus; “Did I not tell you that if you believe you would see the glory of God?”

Joel Okojie is an ordained Catholic Priest in the Order of St. Augustine. He has been a Priest for over a decade. He served as a pastor in two different parishes, he was a one-time Novice Master and a member of the Provincial Council of the province of St. Augustine of Nigeria, and he is currently on a mission in response to the needs of the Church in Canada.

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