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2nd Sunday of Lent Feb. 28, 2010

 
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Fr.Paul Weinberger
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Joined: 06 May 2005
Posts: 199
Location: Greenville, Texas

PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 7:23 pm    Post subject: 2nd Sunday of Lent Feb. 28, 2010 Reply with quote

2nd Sunday of Lent 2010
Homily by: Fr. Paul Weinberger
St. William the Confessor Catholic Parish
Greenville, Tx
February 28, 2010

"Our citizenship is in Heaven and from it we also await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ."

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit
Amen

Those are the two figures next to Christ, Moses and Elijah. Moses represents the Law, which he holds in his hands, the Ten Commandments, and Elijah representing the greatest of the prophets. There are similarities between these two and some of the similarities are that both Moses and Elijah meet God at various times in the top of a mountain. Both have men who succeed them. Moses has Joshua and Elijah has Elisha. At the end of his career, Elijah is taken up in a mysterious way; in a fiery chariot. At the end of his life, Moses is buried but in a secret place. These are just some of the similarities.

One similarity that they have is mentioned here in # 2583 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is interesting because in my Catechism I have a holy card of our Lady of Lourdes. If you have ever been to Lourdes or have seen grottos modeled on Lourdes, if this wall were the face of a mountain and there was a carved out place just big enough for a person to stand in, that is what you would find at Lourdes, although it has been carved out and expanded over the years. That is where Our Lady appeared, in the "cleft of the rock", is how it is explained. That is interesting because that is another thing that moses and Elijah have in common.

This is # 2583 in the Catechism. "God reveals himself to his people, Elijah, like Moses before him, hides "in a cleft of the rock" until the mysterious presence of God has passed by." Moses, we are told, is the only man in the Old Testament, who could speak face to Face with God, and those were few occasions. Elijah wanted to see God face to Face but God said, "No". God told him to stand in the cleft of the rock and that He would put His hand over the cleft of the rock and pass by, and after He would pass by He would remove His hand; this so he would not see the Face of God but see Him after He passed by. The Old Testament says that no one can see the Face of God and live; this is referring to someone on earth. So, both Moses and Elijah had this intense desire to converse with God, which they did. Great things were done through these two.

Getting back to #2583 in the Catechism, "Only on the Mountain of the Transfiguration will Moses and Elijah behold the unveiled face of Him, whom they sought. The light of the knowledge of the Glory of God shines in the Face of Christ, crucified and risen."

That is the great thing about the Catechism, it has a footnote referring us to 2 Corinthians, chapter 4, verse 6. All these different Scripture references in the Catechism are tremendous. You see here that the Transfiguration is important for so many reasons. It is like what we read in the Responsorial Psalm; we have to be really careful, and I am serious. We have to be real careful because after we say the response one time it can easily become blah, blah, blah, right? The refrain is, "The Lord is my Light and Salvation."

Last night I was reading Psalm 119 in Evening Prayer and this Psalm is as big as Texas so they just give it to us in parts. This is Psalm 119, verse 105.

Speaking to God..."Your word is a lamp for my steps and a light for my path."

Last Sunday in the bulletin we had 4, 5 ,and 6 of the Stations of the Cross, written by Cardinal Newman 150 years ago. Pope Benedict will go to England this year to beatify him. Cardinal Newman wrote many things for which he is famous but there is one poem that stands out called "Lead Kindly Light", speaking to God. Cardinal Newman is begging God for only one thing and that is, "Don't show me anything more than the next step."

LEAD, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home --
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene, -- one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will; remember not past years.

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on,
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone;
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.

At Sea, 16 June 1833

John Henry Cardinal Newman

That is such wisdom because if you ever ask to see the rest of your life what will happen is, your hair will turn white and fall out all in the same day. "Your word is a lamp for my steps and a light for my path." Cardinal Newman was right in asking Christ to lead him just to the next step.

That first reading from Genesis today appears to be odd man out; it seems like it doesn't even belong and yet, it does. All that business we read about in the Old Testament, we get tired of seeing. "OH, there goes another animal! Another one killed!" Right, and they are always cutting them in half. Why are they always doing that? Anytime you wanted to make a contract in the Old Testament you didn't look around for a pencil and paper, you look around for a rock and a stylus. What they would do is exactly what is described. They would take the animals and kill them, split them in two, place the pieces separate on the ground and the parties who were making the contract, when finished making it would walk through those two pieces. What they were saying was, "If I don't keep my contract with you then what happened with these animals, I hope happens to me." A lot of us would probably be losing a lot of weight real fast; half of me just walking around. Right?

God does something in that First Reading that will go right past you if you are not careful; God is tying His own hands. Why does God have to make a contract with Abraham? "Ok Abraham, I made a contract with you." But God does more and gives him something sensible, something he experienced. There he was, all of a sudden there became a terrible darkness...Abraham was in something like a trance. We hear in the First Reading, and I am sure we could find a better translation, "There appeared a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch." In essence, you have smoke and fire. I have been preaching on this all day and after the first Masses today and preaching on this I have mentioned that the smoke and fire prefigures when God will lead His chosen people out of the slavery of Egypt into the Promised Land, the first exodus.

As you see on the bottom of the bulletin Jesus was talking to Moses and Elijah about His exodus that He was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. The first exodus started in Egypt and it started with the Passover Meal. No one took a step toward the Promised Land before they had that Passover Meal. The lamb was ritually killed, prepared, cooked and eaten before they took the first step, and then they began to march out of Egypt, God leading them by a pillar of fire at night and a column of smoke by day. Centuries before with Abram there is that smoking fire pot and a burning torch prefiguring that column of fire by night and a column of smoke by day. I find it very consoling that when I pick up my Breviary to read the Office of Readings it is taken from the Book of Exodus. As St. Thomas Aquinas once said, " Shazam!"

Exodus, chapter 13, "The Lord preceded them in the daytime by means of a column of cloud to show them the way and at night by the means of a column of fire to give them light. Thus they could travel both day and night."

You notice that is why we call God, Father; like a father He is always saying, "We have to push on and go further." Right? A mother would say, "Lets stop right here." Neither the column of cloud by day or column of fire by night ever left its place in front of the people. What happens on the Mount of the Transfiguration? There is a column of cloud that descends and then when it retreats we have a dazzling column of light, who is Jesus Christ. Again, it is just so consoling to come across that reading on the 2nd Sunday. Of course these are tied together, the Church's Divine Office and the Gospel for the 2nd Sunday of Lent. Moses and Elijah were so insistent on wanting to speak with God and on many occasions they were able to but not as many times as they desired.

I just turned 50 last May and I look back over my life and say to my shame that I have spent more time watching TV, listening to the radio, on the computer, and on the telephone more time than I ever spent in prayer. If I added it all up.....?

The season of Lent is God's gift to us to correct the things we see we are or not doing. If you have a low tire you put air in it, if you are low on oil then you put in more oil. If prayer is not something that is occurring in your daily life, Lent is given to us to change that, and change it in a big way because you and I have something that Moses and Elijah only dreamed about. When you and I read about the Transfiguration we see that the Transfiguration came about before Jesus went to Jerusalem. In Saint Luke's Gospel, chapter 18 Jesus said this.

"Behold, we go up to Jerusalem and all things shall be accomplished, which were written by the Prophets concerning the Son of Man. He shall be delivered to the Gentiles and shall be mocked and scourged and spit upon, and after they have scourge Him they will put Him to death and the third day He shall rise again."

As it says on the cover of the bulletin, Moses and Elijah spoke to Jesus about His exodus that He was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. Jesus wasn't going to Egypt to lead them out all over again; He was going to Jerusalem and there His Disciples would eat the Passover Meal. They would have as their Passover Meal, the Lamb of God, Jesus Himself. "Take this and eat, this is My Body, take this and drink, this is My Blood." As the second reading says, Jesus was leading them out of Jerusalem to Heaven.

On the back of the bulletin you see those Feasts that come after Easter; there is Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, and the Ascension of the Lord. Jesus like Elijah ascends into Heaven but He is not on a fiery chariot; Jesus doesn't need a chariot because He ascends on His own, if you will. Where he has gone we hope to follow. How do we do that? Constant, daily communication, which is called prayer. "Lord, just show me the next step." When we are so surprised about the next step it says a whole lot about our prayer life. I am surprised all the time. This says a lot about my prayer life. God is showing us the next step and what Moses and Elijah longed to have, you and I have and we take it for granted. Lent is a gift from God because you and I are in a valley of tears, which is hard and difficult for many reasons. If you want to make it more difficult, turn out all the lights and don't light the lamp of prayer, and
then start complaining and you will notice how the darkness gets more and more intense. That is not what God has
intended.

I love these Apostles; every time something important happens you can see where they are; they are asleep. Right? When Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane He tells them to stay awake and pray so that they may not be put to the test. After eating the Passover Meal in Egypt all the Israelites are supposed to stay awake and watch. I love these guys but they are always drifting off. If you ever have insomnia and can't get to sleep, just play one of my homilies or read the Bible, or start to pray. [Laughter] Isn't it amazing how fast sleep comes on?

We have a lot of work to do in the prayer department. Each one of us, because our citizenship is in Heaven.

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit
Amen
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