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posted by alias Robert Cowlishaw (Mertonian) on Friday 11th of March 2022 04:11:14 AM

031322Homily2ndLent This is the 2nd Sunday of Lent. In today’s gospel, we read about how Peter, James and John, went from being sleepy… deeply fatigued…to being “fully awake.” These companions of Jesus, were witnessing something startling…the transfiguration. To see what these Apostles saw, how could they not be awakened and transformed. What I want to focus on is becoming “fully awake.” When we step into this state of being “fully awake” in our relationship with God; we may not be transfigured, but we are transformed. Synonyms of this word include words such as metamorphosis, conversion, transformation and makeover. The “sad beauty” of Lent, is that we are provided with an opportunity to reflect on our lives…how far we are from missing the mark. This self inventory is necessary for each of us go through, but we do not do it alone! We are given this season each year, to become “fully awake.” When we are going through this period of discernment, what are we gauging our progress against? We have the Light that shines in the darkness…the literal light of Jesus Christ… his life, his words; we call this walking in “the way.” We see HIM walking through his passion. In the Stations of the Cross…we get to meditate on the suffering we see in HIS face…the dragging of HIS cross up the hill where HE will be crushed and crucified for each of us. This is not a time to inflate our own guilt! In this period of our formation, it is important to let go of the past…especially if we have gone through processes of repentance. This unnecessary luggage we carry from our past distorts the way we see ourselves and we may become fixed on ourselves in an unhealthy way. It certainly prevents us from being “fully awake” to the forgiving God who journeys with us through the ups and downs in our life. Our tradition of receiving the sacrament of reconciliation is the most visible way we can know that grace is given to us; to let go of those things that weigh heavy on out heart. In the 1986, a movie was released called “The Mission.” Robert De Niro, plays a mercenary-Rodrigo Mendoza, a slave trader in the 1750’s. It takes place in Argentina, amongst the Guarani, a tribe inhabiting the Paraguayan jungle. The movie is about how the Jesuits come to convert these people to Christianity. In the movie, Rodrigo kidnaps these indigenous people and sells them into slavery. He makes a good living. He seems to have no conscience, until he kills his brother in a duel whom he caught having an affair with his fiancé. Rodrigo becomes a very broken man. Fr. Gabriel, invites Rodrigo, to journey with him and other Jesuits, up the great falls and into the Jungle to meet and convert the Guarani. In this journey, Rodrigo begins his penance…he gathers all his weapons and armor and ties them together into a large ball. He drags the ball, rope in hand, all the way up the falls. In one scene, a Jesuit cuts the rope, because he cannot bear to watch Rodrigo slipping and falling in the rain and mud. Fr. Gabriel mention to the Jesuit, that no one can take this burden from him until he is ready to let go. Rodrigo, eventually let’s go of this ball…when a tribe member, with a knife approaches him as though he is going to kill him…but instead cuts the rope…sending the ball of weapons and armor into the river. This is a extreme example of how we let our past actions haunt us. We must quit grasping this luggage from our past so that we can see clearly in the present and be hopeful for the future. We may find that others remind us of our past. Our Lord calls on us to forgive others as HE has forgiven us. How many people do we know in our circle of influence that have turned from Christ because they feel unworthy? God has not turned from them, but they have turned from God. They are not experiencing what our Psalm reading said: “The Lord is my light and Salvation; whom should I Fear? The Lord is my Life’s refuge; of whom should I be Afraid?” Our second reading from Philippians, Paul challenges each one of us to be models of the Christian life for others. This is our challenge! I know that some carry something that clouds us from a deeper relationship with Christ. Let us cast off that which enslaves us… We will then be “Fully Awake.” We will experience God more intensely which is what Lent is all about.

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  • Published 08.12.22
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