March 13, 2022
Review the Readings
Listen to the Readings
Audio of my homily given years ago while I was active in the parish
How is your Lent going so far?
Lent is that discipline of the Church to help us look at ourselves.
The request for more praying, fasting or giving up some things, and letting go of something especially money are all ways of helping us to see ourselves spiritually in an honest moment.
We may make discoveries about ourselves.
It is good to see that we fail spiritually at times and do need the help of God, who of course, has great compassion, mercy and love for all of us. That is what Lent is all about. We need God not because of our successes but because of our failures and sins.
When the struggles in our life appear, as they will for all of us, how do we react? Do we try to escape the cross, the struggles, the comfortableness. Do we turn to things that make us feel better in those times of difficulty?
A Reflection on this Sunday's Readings
in the the second reading, St. Paul asks in his letter to the Philippians,
if they are living as enemies of the cross.
Are they looking to be without problems and struggles?
Paul encourages them to look at his life and that of Christ.
There will be struggles, the cross.
It is part of our journey to eternal life. The disciples of Jesus could not believe that He would have to be rejected, suffer, and be crucified a horrible death. After all was He not the Messiah?
Jesus is well aware of how difficult it will be for them when they will have to face what seems like the loss of Jesus through suffering and death. For the disciples, that was not the way things were to go. The cross was disgrace, was failure.
Don't we too at times try to escape from the cross, from the struggles and we turn to all kinds of things to take our minds off of the cross, our struggles and difficulties?
We all know the story of the Transfiguration that is proclaimed to us in today's Gospel reading. To help his disciples understand that the cross is part of the way to eternal life, Jesus takes Peter, John, and James up the mountain to pray.
Up on the mountain, they experience that Jesus is God-messiah as He talks with Moses and Elijah. They all begin to get a glimmer of the fact that God has a plan and that includes the Cross, the struggles. Yet, when they are faced with the reality of the Cross, they all run away from Jesus.
Don't we do the same at times? When the struggles, the Cross, just seems like just to much to bear, we too run away, or find ways to escape, or perhaps even plea with God to take the cross away.
The first reading can be a help for us as we come to recognize that in our baptism, God has called us by name just as sure as He called Abram,
(later to be renamed Abraham)and made a covenant with him.
The way a covenant was made was to split an animal in two and walk through the two halves and say that if the pact, the covenant, was broken by the one who walked through the split animal, the same would happen to the one who broke the covenant. God walked through, but then placed Abram in a deep sleep so he would not have to walk through.
The pact covenant that God made was a promise of eternal life. The people in the time of Abraham believed that having ancestors meant eternal life. God tell Abram that he will have ancestors more numerous than the stars in the sky. He will have eternal life.
Abram believes that God will do it. Even as Abram continues on his journey with Sarah his wife who is barren and old, Abram believes. Even in being asked to kill his only son, Issac, Abram believes. Even in all the struggles of his journey in the desert, never knowing for sure where he is being led, he believes.
God has made that same covenant with each of us in our baptism when He called us by name. He has given us a way to eternal peace, eternal happiness, eternal life. And when we doubt, when we don't believe, when we fail and sin, He gives each of us a way back.
Pray that each of us may be given the grace, the courage to keep going in spite of the difficulties and even in moments the failures and sin.
It is through the Cross that we will come to the end of our earthly journey and reach eternal life.
Give us the courage not to run
when the Cross appears in our lives.
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