Homily Second Sunday of Lent 5th March 2023
I am sure that every one of us has at one time or another had the experience of being struck with the fact that, at the heart of it all, things are really developing about as they should. It is as though the lid were being lifted off daily life for just a moment, and we see a hint of the real dynamics, the real value of those lives.
These moments bring into our lives a great gift, the gift of confidence in the present.
Christians usually find it easy to be confident about the past. It is a simple matter to see the hand of God at work when we look back. We can see how over the centuries, humankind has moved from a sort of fearful awe of natural powers, to a parent and child relationship with a personal God.
For a Christian it is relatively easy to be confident about the future. Over and over again we are reminded of Christ’s promise to return to human society, to take up his own personal rule over a new Kingdom.
But for a lot of people, even for believers, it seems to be a very difficult thing to work up any real trust in the present. From a steady stream of talk shows and public opinion polls, and just casual conversation, it is fairly easy to conclude that most of us probably fear, if not outright believe, that the forces for change that are at work around us right now are largely destructive ones.
Well, the Gospel reading for this weekend speaks to that. The fact is that the constructive hand of God is as much at work in the forces that are shaping our experience today as it was when the apostles were granted a glimpse beneath the surface, in the transfiguration, and they saw the Son of God moving in the midst of his people.
And that is the truth of the transfiguration. Even when hidden, Christ is fully and divinely at work in our lives, in the ideas, the feelings, the people that affect, change, and transform our lives.
And that means that people as ordinary as you and I can bring to bear on their challenges and problems not only their own efforts and abilities but those of Christ as well. We can never know the full result of our efforts because we can never know the full extent of the powers that are being poured into those efforts through us.
And I think that adds a dimension of depth to our Lenten reflections. It is great self-discipline indeed to confidently face one’s fears and hesitancy, to not trust them. To place one’s trust instead in the basic sense of righteousness, that sacred insight that “This is how my life should be, even if it doesn’t feel right for a while.” There is a tremendous power of Transfiguration in such a stance.