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3/17/19 Second Sunday of Lent - Fr. Damian

One theme of our readings today is the theme of faith. Abraham in the first reading trusts in God, has faith in God, and God promises to Abraham an unaccountable number of descendents. Abraham does believe but as he gets older he begins to think that God must have meant something else. As Abraham gets older he thinks that his descendents will come from the salve girl Hagar instead of from his wife Sara. He cannot imagine God doing miracles!

Just in these few thoughts we have so many challenges to our way of thinking today, even our own personal ways of thinking! First, so many people no longer believe in a God at all.

Some who believe don’t believe that there could possibly be a God who loves us personally and intimately and who calls each one of us by name. Secondly, lots of people who do believe in God think of God as a super reality that plays games with us and is always tricking us and whose word we cannot really trust. Thirdly, so many people today no longer believe in miracles. Instead, all the miracles in the Bible, in our Holy Scriptures, are seen as explainable by natural happenings. The real miracle is simply what is human and not the divine breaking into the human.

We are Catholics, yes, but we are invited this Lent to believe that God is calling us by name, personally and intimately.

We are invited to respond to that call in this Lent in just as personal a manner. Sometimes we think that it is only the evangelical Christians who must accept Jesus as their Savior, but we also must be able to say, at least in our hearts: “Jesus is Lord, I accept Jesus as my Savior, I have been saved.” For most of us Catholics, these are words that leave us feeling uneasy because they are almost too personal. Instead, we have our Sacraments, we have our relationship with God, we have our Catechism!

 

In this Lent, we can ask that our Sacraments, our relationship with the Lord and our Catechism can all become more personal.

This is not an invitation to change our Sacraments, or our faith in the Lord or in His Church or in the doctrines of our Catechism, but it is an invitation to believe very personally and strongly.

 

This is what is happening in the Transfiguration of the Lord in the Gospel today. Three apostles are invited to be witness to this change in Jesus and they are able to share that faith with the others. They need to have this very personal and intimate experience with Jesus in order for themselves to be changed. It is not just Jesus who is changed.

In our Christian tradition and in our Catholic Christian tradition, our faith is handed on to one another, so we have both a relationship with Jesus, with the Father and with the Spirit, but also with the believing Christian community.

Lent is a time when many people are preparing for Baptism and for full incorporation into the Catholic Church. You and I are invited to deepen our own faith and to share it with others. Together we are members of Christ’s Body, the Church. Together with other Catholics and with the leaders of our faith, the Pope and the Bishops, we are the Church, the presence of Jesus in the world today and the strength of the Holy Spirit.

Let us ask today that we might be transformed and transfigured so that together we can truly proclaim the salvation given to us in Jesus Christ and make His loving presence known throughout our world.

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