HOMILY: SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT 2021
I had a wonderful conversation with Archbishop Don which revolved around my personal struggles how I managed to cope up with the challenges of pandemic. I was bold enough to say, at the outset, I felt lonely and I have no clue on what to do. If I say I was fine, I was pretending and therefore I was lying. Who in the world will not feel lonely? But my consolation rests upon my reflection on the vow of priestly obedience which made me stronger against odd situation. It is a driving force that I become more mature gradually and brought me closer to Jesus.
We are now on the 2nd Sunday of the Lent. The readings invite us to focus on the virtue of faith. First, it is an act of total surrender and obedience to God. The Book of Genesis tells the story of Abraham who was called Father of faith. God tested him by asking to make Isaac a burnt offering which greatly disturbed him. Why me and kill my son? Never was any gold tried in so hot a fire but Abraham would not argue with God. Such would have been the thought of a weak heart. Abraham knew that he had to do with God. Faith had taught him not to argue but obey. He has no doubt that God’s command is the best that He never breaks promises. The good patriarch rises early, and begins his sad journey.
It is embracing sufferings even death for Christ’s sake. Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans exhorts us “who will separate us from the Love of Christ, hardships, distress, famine, peril or the sword?” Obedience to Christ may have lingering unanswered questions, why do I need to fast and abstain? Why do I need I take sacrifice? Why go to a priest for confession? The crucifixion of Christ made Him authentic Son of God likewise; sacrifice, trial and Lenten discipline should never be hindrances but opportunities to establish intimate relationship with God. They are tests to prove that our love for Jesus is for real.
Finally, it helps us gain more than what we bargain. The gospel according to Mark narrates the disciples being witnesses to the Lord’s transfiguration. All Peter can say is “Lord it is good for us to be here”! When God asked from us to lose something like sacrifice and spiritual discipline through prayer and reflecting on the word of God; generosity as fruits of our fasting and abstinence and humility and sincerity through good confession, we start gaining more than the pain and deprivation that we went through and greater that pleasures in this world. We have self mastery over our life; there is always in giving and peace when we are cleansed of our sinfulness and of course God will always bless us abundantly. What we got rid of are the straws and the grains of life are retained. However, first, do not ask what you will receive as precondition of giving up, be like Abraham, he surrendered everything, expected nothing but won everlasting.