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Homily for March 13, 2022 – The Second Sunday of Lent

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO

The Second Sunday of Lent

The only begotten Son of God who became man when the Holy Spirit overshadowed the ever-virgin Mary led his disciples to heights of the Holy Mountain. There, in silence and solitude, Jesus entered into a heart-to-heart conversation with his loving Father. The disciples who had enjoyed a time of special intimacy with their Master found themselves surrounded by the splendor of the Trinity. Gazing upon the radiant glory shining from the face of Christ, they were given a glimpse of the unapproachable light. There, the fire of divine love that burned in the Heart of Christ illumined their minds and hearts as they gazed upon his face. There, wrapped in a robe of light Christ revealed the hidden lessons of the past. For a moment the veil was lifted, and his disciples were allowed to contemplate his glory, the glory of the only Son that is full of grace and truth. The glory that shone from the depths of Christ’s being transformed the disciples into His image and likeness. Today, this radiant light is offered to us, grace upon grace, making us more and more like Christ. As we continue to ascend the heights, from glory to glory, we shall become lights that overcome the darkness of the world in the name of Christ.

The Lord is our light and our salvation. In him, we live and move and have our being. The lord who led his disciples to the heights of the holy mountain will draw all people to himself when he is lifted to the heights of Mount Calvary, nailed to the cross. The light of glory that shined on his face atop Tabor will not be overcome by the darkness that enveloped Calvary. The lord, whose heart is aflame with the fire of divine love, a love that is stronger than death, invites us to set him as a seal upon our hearts. Fanned by the breath of the Spirit, the spark of Christ’s love will burst into a consuming fire, transforming the darkness of the world into the everlasting day. The love of God is all-consuming. The Love of the Father that transfigured the Beloved Son on Mount Tabor also transfigures us, the members of Christ’s body. We are called to bring the fire of divine love into a world that has grown cold and wanders in darkness. Our faith tells us that he who was crucified was the same person who had been transfigured on Tabor. He who conquered sin and darkness by rising from the dead will conform our mortal bodies to his glorified body.

Whether we gaze upon the radiant glory of love on Tabor or witness the agony and pain of love on Calvary, we are called to keep our eyes fixed on Christ, who is the Father’s Love made tangible. I find great comfort and support in these words taken from the prophet Habakkuk. “God is my strength who gives me courage. He makes me surefooted as a deer. He enables me to walk the heights without fear” (Hab. 3:19). With the apostle Paul, we need to press on until we grasp as our own that for which Christ has grasped us as his own. With Christ, we must move from the height of Tabor to the height of Calvary, keeping the glory of our heavenly homeland in view where we will be coheirs of the Kingdom. Conformed to Christ, we shall run the way of God’s commandments with our hearts expanded with the unspeakable sweetness of love that will become a world-transforming fire.

Christ is the “image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15) and the reflection of the Father’s glory (cf. Heb 1:3). The transfiguration afforded the disciples a glimpse of the glory that resided in the tent of Christ’s body. In a twinkling of an eye, it was gone. This encounter was an object lesson. The mountain is not intended to be our permanent home. The voice of the Father challenges us to look beyond the experience of ecstasy to encounter the person of the Son. In our greatest glories on earth, we must never forget that this is not our final resting place. The world as we know it is passing away. Our earthly tent will be torn down and be replaced by an eternal dwelling God has prepared for us in heaven.

The Word Made Flesh accompanies us throughout the season of Lent. Having encountered him on Tabor, we walk with Him to Calvary. On the cross, he draws us to himself and becomes the Way that leads us to the Father. Saint Paul wrote: “God has made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory that is shining on the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6).

The word of God expands and elevates our vision. Our time with Jesus on Mt. Tabor, the mount of the Transfiguration, prepares us for Golgotha, the mount of the crucifixion. Let us spend time contemplating the face of Christ both in glory and pain. Acknowledging the depth of his love for us, we will be drawn out of our agony into his radiant glory. At the foot of the cross, the Father of lights invites us to strip off the old man and be clothed in a robe of glory. Everything changes once we allow the glory that shines on the face of Christ to shine on us. Day by day, we will be transformed by the Light into light for others. With the disciples, we ascend the heights and see the light. If we wander from the path, we will be sought by the Light who never abandons us. The Lord who draws us to the heights comes down to meet us in the depths.

Lent is a favorable time for personal and community renewal, as it draws us into the paschal mystery of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. May the Lord open the eyes of our hearts so that we might see the light of his truth. May he shine the light of hope upon us and free us from the original darkness that clouds our vision. May he restore our sight that we may look upon his face and see the glory that will be ours in the Spirit. “O God, you are my God, for you I long. It is for you that my soul is thirsting. My body pines for you like a dry weary land without water, so I gaze on you in the sanctuary to see your strength and your glory” (Ps. 63: 1-2).