March 11, 2017

Homily for the Second Sunday of Lent Year A

by Fr. Tommy Lane

“Twins, a sister and brother were talking to each other in

the womb. The little sister said to the little brother, ‘I

believe that there is life after birth!’ Her brother

protested: ‘No, no, this is all there is. This is a dark

and cozy place, and we have nothing else to do but to cling

on to the cord that feeds us.’ But the little girl

insisted: ‘There must be something more than this dark

place, there must be something else where there is light and

freedom to move.’ Still she could not convince her twin

brother. Then...after some silence, she said hesitantly:

‘I have something else to say, and I am afraid you won’t

believe that either, but I think there is a mother!’ Her

little brother now became furious: ‘A mother, a mother,

what are you talking about? I have never seen a mother and

neither have you. Who put that idea in your head? As I told

you, this place is all we have so let’s be content.’ The

little sister finally said: ‘Don’t you feel this

pressure sometimes? Its really unpleasant and sometimes even

painful.’ ‘Yes,’ he answered, ‘what’s special

about that?’ ‘Well,’ the sister said, ‘I think this

pressure is there to get us ready for another place, much

more beautiful than this, where we will see our mother face

to face! Don’t you think that’s exciting!”

(Unfortunately I do not know the source.)

In that story the twin brother did not believe there was

anything beyond what he could see and hear and touch while

his twin sister believed there was a life beyond what she

could see and hear and touch. That story reminds me of life.

We are like the twin sister, we say “we are only passing

through,” meaning that this life is preparing for eternal

life. We live in strange times with lots of tragedies and

appalling accidents and many people dying young. During

times like this we need more than ever to remember that our

lives here on earth are a pilgrimage to God. We are sons and

daughters of our heavenly Father since baptism. Like the

girl in the womb who could not see her mother, we too

believe that eternal life follows this life and that there

is more to this life than we can see and hear and touch.

On the mountain Peter, James and John saw that there was

more to Jesus than met the eye. During the transfiguration

they got a glimpse of the future glory of Jesus’

resurrection. Like them we too get glimpses of the presence

of God in our lives. We get glimpses of God in the love we

receive from other people. We get glimpses of God when badly

needed help suddenly comes to us from out of nowhere. We get

glimpses of God when we look back over our lives and what we

couldn’t understand in the past makes sense now. We see

glimpses of God when we see someone making a sacrifice to

help somebody else. We see glimpses of God in the beauty of

a fine day, a nice beach or a beautiful sunrise or sunset.

We see glimpses of God when a passage from the Bible or a

homily strikes a cord in our hearts. We get a glimpse of God

when we spend time in prayer and experience the loving

presence of God in our lives. We get more than just a

glimpse of God when we receive the body of Jesus in Holy

Communion. The Transfiguration coming early in Lent

encourages us to continue our Lenten penances because it

reminds us of the glory of Jesus risen from the dead.

When Jesus and the disciples came down the mountain Jesus

ordered them not to tell anyone about his transfiguration

until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. Of

course they did not know what he meant. Unknown to them the

glory of Jesus’ transfiguration was preparing them to

accept the scandal of the cross. They would understand this

only afterwards when looking back. The good times take us

through the bad times. So when our cross is heavy or when we

are tempted to despair about the meaning of life, let us

look beyond the pain of the present moment and remember

those times when we got glimpses of God, those times when

God sent us his consolations. Let us look beyond the pain of

life and see the presence of God in our world, and the offer

of life that God wants to make to each of us. Let us look

beyond the illusion of happiness that this life offers to

the real happiness that God offers us. Let us look beyond

this world to eternal life with God. As we heard in the

second reading today, 

With me bear the hardships for the sake of the Good News,

relying on the power of God who has saved us and called us

to be holy. (2 Tim 1:8-9)

In our first reading we heard Abram being called by God to

leave his present place and go to a new country. (Gen

12:1-4) He was seventy-five when called to leave his own

country but he had to wait another twenty-five years for the

promised son Isaac to be born so that the promise of future

descendents could be fulfilled. That was a long wait. It was

a long time for him to be continually looking beyond the

present to the promise of God. With faith we can see what we

cannot see with our eyes. The girl in the womb knew there

was more to what she could see and hear and touch. On the

mountain Peter, James and John looked beyond the appearance

of Jesus and saw his future risen glory. Let us look beyond,

and see that God is really with us. God has not left us on

our own, God is with us.