2nd Sunday of Lent
Gospel of Mark 9:2-10
Garage doors. I want to talk to you, this 2nd Sunday of Lent, about Garage doors. I assume that my home is no different than many of your own homes in that there are things, mechanisms, windows, and doors that are in need of repair. I also recognize the unwritten rule that when one thing is fixed, another breaks, and in the process of repairing that item another problem is discovered, and that one has to be fixed before you can fix the problem you started to fix in the first place. For me, this week, it was the garage door.
How the garage door broke is of little significance. That it did break and how I responded to the broken garage door is what is important. I confess to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, that I lost my mind. I went from a happy pleasant start of my day to instantaneous outrage and exasperation. I am making no small matter of this garage door incident. I literally went from hope filled to despair…despairing of all things good and decent in a split second. God forgive me.
I am amazed at how often a small insignificant matter can upset and/or disrupt my true desire to live at peace with God, my neighbor, and myself. I marvel at my humanity, or more specifically, my weakness. The church describes this weakness and inclination to sin as concupiscence and though I do not wish to talk to you this day about sin and weakness it is necessary for us to understand its reality. Our Christian faith is hardwired for difficulty. In fact, and I may be speaking for myself at this point, however, I do believe some of you may agree with me when I say, at times, there appears to be more difficulty in the picking up of your cross and following Jesus, than there is comfort.
And, believe it or not, that is where we find hope in today’s Gospel. Today’s Gospel is the transfiguration. For us, followers of Christ, the transfiguration, is no small matter. For it is in these 8 verses of Mark that we find hope. In these 8 verses we see a moment of Jesus’s divine glory and that he is the Christ, the Messiah, the one to come, pointed too by the Law and Prophets of the Old Testament. In these 8 verses we also find the presence of the trinity; God the father in the voice, the Son in Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in the cloud covering them all. In these 8 verses we find the confusion of Peter, James, and John and their lack of understanding regarding the necessity of the suffering and death that Jesus must endure. In all of these, we modern day followers of Christ are able to find hope.
Hope is the virtue we desire and expect from God both for eternal life and the grace we need to attain it. Hope (as are the other theological virtues of faith, and charity) is essential to our Christian walk. For in hope we find joy and strength to endure the tests, trials, and tribulations of our pilgrimage here on earth. In hope we look forward to the promise of Christ for eternal life and glory. In hope we aspire to build God’s Kingdom here on earth that we may receive the reward and the praise of, “well done my good and faithful servant.” And it is hope, that the Apostle Paul points to in today’s 2nd reading when he asks, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
So I ask you, “How is your Lent going?” Have you remained faithful to your commitments? Have you been seeking God through prayer in the manner and method you planned? Have you stayed true to your fast? Your self-sacrifice? Your self-denial? Have you been serving others? Giving your treasure, time, and talent to those who are in need? Have you supported others in their Lenten journey?
Some of you have already faced obstacles, struggles, and road blocks. Some of you have experienced loss. Loss of health, loss of relationships, and even some of you may have already experienced the loss of death in your family or friends. Some of you have already despaired, or have been discouraged, and may have even given up on your Lenten journey.
Today I ask you if that is you. If you have already lost your hope, please open yourself to it once again. Trust in today’s Gospel message of the promise of eternal life and joy. Trust in the example of Abraham whose willingness to be put to the test resulted in a Promise and in abundant blessings. Trust in each other as you journey together that through love and fellowship with one another you will find encouragement and support.
Finally, do not let the failure of a man kind invention, such as garage door, set you back on your journey, rather, put your trust in Jesus Christ, who for a moment, shared his glorification with his disciples, in order that we may share in their testimony and find hope in the life, passion, death, and resurrection of our savior.