2nd Sunday of Lent (C)

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Pay No Attention to that Man
Behind the Curtain!



Do you remember that scene near the end of the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy and the Scare Crow and the Tin Man and the Lion finally encounter the Wizard, whose booming voice they hear in flames and thunder and clouds of smoke? And then, Dorothy’s dog, Toto, pulls back a green curtain exposing the man and the machinery behind the Wizard’s voice. And now, revealed for who he is, the Wizard shouts, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”

The story of the Transfiguration of Jesus is something like that  – except it’s the exact opposite!

When Jesus is transfigured before Peter, John and James, the curtain of his humanity is pulled aside. But unlike the unveiling of the Wizard of Oz, what’s revealed here is the truth, not the sham. When the curtain of Christ’s humanity is pulled back his divinity is revealed. The Wizard told Dorothy and her friends: “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” but Jesus invites us to do exactly just the opposite. The curtain is pulled back precisely so that Jesus’ friends so that we might see him for who he is, and pay attention to the man he is, to the Lord he is over our lives, and in our lives. Dorothy and her friends followed the yellow brick road to Oz. Peter, James and John went up to the top of the mountain. Where do you and I go to look for the Lord?





When Russian President Putin invaded Ukraine, no one was surprised. He had prepared for that invasion for months. And very little was done to dissuade or deter him!

Lord Acton once said: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely…”

Edmund Burke, the Great British statesman, observed: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Albert Einstein, after the Holocaust of World War II, said: “The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”

What is so utterly tragic about the current war in Ukraine is that the rich and the powerful of the world are profiting from it. The financial markets continue to climb – Oil prices continue to rise – The military industrial complex gets richer – And oligarchs control the politics everywhere!

Homilies on the War in Ukraine

  • Holy Hour for Ukraine – (Catholic Cwmbran)
  • We are at War – (Notre Dame de Lourdes)
  • Divine Liturgy for Peace – (Cardinal Blase Cupich)
  • Praying for Ukraine (Deacon Greg Kandra
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The Transfiguration

Claret Media Cameroon

The transfiguration takes place while Jesus is praying, indicating that great things happen whenever we pray.
The word “transfiguration” comes from the Latin roots trans- (“across”) and figura (“form, shape”). It thus signifies a change of form or appearance. This is what happens to Jesus in the Transfiguration: His appearance changes and becomes glorious…. The Transfiguration is a special event in which God allows certain apostles to have a privileged spiritual experience to strengthen their faith for the challenges they would later endure. But it is only temporary. It is not meant to be permanent. In the same way, at certain times in this life, God gives certain members of the faithful (not all of the faithful, all the time), special experiences of His grace that strengthen their faith. We should welcome these experiences for the graces they are, but we should neither expect them to continue indefinitely, nor be afraid or resentful when they cease.


Light is Not Faith


When thousands of people are killed in war, when greed and selfishness characterize our culture, we do not stop believing that God is present. Instead we hope that God is active in a way that we cannot yet perceive. All of these evils that are present in our world do not lead us to despair but to action. We give our energies towards building a more peaceful and just world. When someone we love is struck with cancer, when our marriage ends, when someone we trust betrays us, we continue to hope that God will still save us. We look forward to a future in which God’s action and love will become clear.

Other people will look at the blessings of life and the heartbreaks of life and interpret them differently. It is only with the gift of faith and our willingness to accept it that we can see God’s action among us. This morning we are surrounded by God’s light, the same light that illumined the disciples on the mount of the transfiguration. Let us open our eyes, not to be blinded, but to see—to see God’s presence here among us and in the events of our world and then to live as Christ’s disciples in the joy and in the hope that only faith can bring



Awake, Never Miss a Scene!


In the transfiguration our attention is drawn to the description of what happens, the face of Jesus that changes and his clothes dazzlingly bright. Here’s the question that comes to mind: What newness does this experience bring to Jesus? I shout, nothing! Nothing really. Yet, it’s not to say it’s an un important. Indeed, it is! It’s not the transfiguration confers him something he didn’t have before; rather he reflects who he already is -son of God. It’s a revelation for disciples; it’s like a flip on the curtain that gives them a glimpse of another face of the man, apparently ordinary, that have been following.

It’s not just a show to admire; it’s a promise. That’s the destination where he’s leading whoever is following him.  And that’s the meaning of our Lenten pilgrimage; we prepare ourselves to share in the new life of Easter. So, this revelation is an encouragement, as well as an assurance: you are on the right path, keeping walking!


The World We See Is Not All There Is



Many people “live as enemies of the cross of Christ,” St. Paul says. “Their minds are set on earthly things.”

However, along with their materialism, they often have a deep-seated suspicion that life is more than what we can see. Accordingly, they try in various ways to “get behind the scenes.”

“Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers,” says the Catechism of the Catholic Church.


Dare to Be Free

. | 2022
Dominican Friars of England & Wales, Scotland

Embracing freedom is costly, as the people of Ukraine are showing us, refusing to submit to tyranny.
The final words of this gospel are almost chilling: ‘When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.’ Jesus, who had been seen conversing with Moses and Elijah and whose Father cried out from heaven, is again found alone. We listen to the words as a community, in shared attention (or distraction). But we also hear them alone, as words addressed to each of us alone, invited on a journey into personal freedom that no one else can take for us. Listening to the Word, each of us is ‘alone with the alone.’ Like the disciples, we need silence to digest their import.

Yet they do not travel to Jerusalem alone. They walk with the Lord and each other. Our journey is also towards the shared freedom and joy of the Kingdom, for which we struggle now. Embracing freedom is costly, as the people of Ukraine are showing us, refusing to submit to tyranny. Their freedom is ultimately inseparable from our own. If we support the cause of freedom, even though it is but a tiny foretaste of what is promised, it will be costly for us too. Let us weigh the cost and set out.



Good News in a Suffering World



Jesus promised his followers that they would have to suffer, indeed, that they would have to die, at least to their pervasive and irrepressible self-interest. Certainly, no one lives wrapped in cotton wool. But he also relied on them to build a better world based on the common dignity of every person because profoundly loved by God. And he assured them that God would work with them. A few more duplicates of herself would be good news in a suffering world.

In today’s Gospel, the transfigured Christ was shown talking with Moses and Elijah. They were talking about his passing which he was to accomplish in Jerusalem – a euphemism, if ever there was one, for his tortured death there. But Jerusalem was also the place from where he passed to the Father – the place where he was raised by the Father to a new mode of living (that we, for lack of something better, call risen life).


Who We Are When We Follow Christ



This Second Sunday of Lent always has an account of the Transfiguration of Christ in the Gospel and the Great Promise to Abraham in the first reading from the Book of Genesis.  These are immensely important stories in our Christian tradition and we need to give our attention to them with a bit of depth to understand who we are when we follow Jesus Christ.

The Gospel from Saint Luke gives an account of the Transfiguration.  It was such a strange experience even for those who were present that Peter begins to talk about making tents!  And the Gospel tells us that Peter did not know what he was saying.  It was clearly such a strong and unusual experience that other Gospels even speak of Peter sort of being out of his mind!…

My sisters and brothers, we are heirs of the promise to Abraham and we are witnesses to the accounts of the Baptism and the Transfiguration.  God promises us that we also will be transformed (transfigured).  Let us listen to Him!


For God the Extraordinary and the Ordinary are Not Opposed


We can say that Lent is an extraordinary time lived in an ordinary season. We fast, we pray, we do works of charity – all while we also go about the ordinary rhythm of our lives.  We still go to work, we still go to school, we visit with one another, we pay bills…  The ordinary rhythm of life continues on even while we make the extraordinary journey of Lent….

For God the extraordinary and the ordinary are not opposed. The same ought to be true for us.  We can be awakened, our eyes can be opened to see the extraordinary in the ordinary if we allow ourselves to be “taken up” by Christ.  Just as Christ took the three disciples up the mountain to pray, just as God took Abram outside to gaze at the heavens, we need to allow Christ to take us and pull us away from our own selfishness and draw us into his own life.  If we allow this to happen then we can participate in a greater reality, our eyes will be opened and we will begin to see as Christ sees.  We also can be transfigured.

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On Being Transfigured



On the Second Sunday of Lent we consider the way we are following the Lord. Do we allow ourselves to be exposed to the spiritual? Do we pray, really pray? Do we allow the spiritual to become real in our lives? Are we allowing God’s plan to take effect in our world? Are we living as citizens of heaven, or is our glory the mere external following of our religion? If someone were to ask any of us, “What exactly is a Catholic?” in what terms would we form our answer? If we were to answer the question in terms of religious practices, such as “a Catholic is a person who goes to Church on Sundays, receives the sacraments, says the Rosary, etc,” we would be given far too much importance to what we do and not enough importance to what God is doing. However, if we were to answer the question, “What is a Catholic?” in terms of what God does, if we were to say, “A Catholic is someone united to God in such a way that others experience the Mystery of God working in him,” then it is God and his works that are the essence of lives. Few people are drawn to Catholicism because they want to do the things that Catholics do. People are drawn to Catholicism because they want to experience God as Catholics experience Him.



Dark Clouds Over Lent


Cloud, shadow, and darkness. On this second Sunday in Lent, we are confronted by our ignorance. Just two weeks into our desert pilgrimage and already we are being driven deeper into the truth and the beauty of what we do not know about our God, our incomplete understanding of who God is and what He wills for us. Maybe ignorance isn’t the right word here. Maybe we should call our inability to fully experience and know God something like “seeing with one eye closed,” or “touching with a gloved hand,” or “hearing with muffled ears.” We can see, touch, and hear the divine, sure; but it’s all done imperfectly, dulled somehow by merely being human; imperfect sensations, giving us imperfect knowledge b/c we are not God. Abram speaks with God. And afterward, “a trance [falls] upon Abram, and a deep, terrifying darkness envelope[s] him.” Peter, James, and John speak with Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. And afterward, “a cloud came and cast a shadow over [the disciples], and they became frightened when they entered the cloud.” Lent is our time to enter the cloud, to walk in the dark, and grow in the shadow. Before we come to know God, even imperfectly, we must know and accept—in all humility—that we are not God.

Heaven Doesn’t Require Our Imagination



God and the Devil, Heaven and Hell: these used to be the common themes found in almost everything ranging from cartoons to fiction novels, artistic masterpieces to the Sunday pulpit, as if these two themes are ingrained in the fabric of society. Nearly every human being holds some sort of belief system regarding heaven, hell, or both – you either believe in it, are ambivalent to it or scoff at it. A scathing judgment came from Stephen Hawking who argued that a belief that heaven or an afterlife awaits us, is a “fairy story” for people afraid of death. Perhaps you can recall these words from John Lennon’s song “Imagine”: “Imagine there’s no heaven; it’s easy if you try. No hell below us–above us only sky.” The song argues that if you can imagine away these unpleasant realities, we could create utopia on earth.




HomiliesSUNDAY WEB SITE | 1997

Although we rarely pay attention to it, a great paradox haunts our practices of Lent. We go through these six weeks every year fairly easily; yet if we stopped to reflect seriously on what’s going on, it would be a shock. To our liberated American souls, it might even seem like an earthquake.

Just look at the imagery and themes of the period. Lent starts with ashes and a warning: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” It prods to repentance: there is something wrong with us and the world. I am not O.K.; neither are you. We are insufficient. This life is not enough. Each of the six weeks brings a profound admission of our inadequacy.

This is not easy stuff for a world given to excuses and plea-bargaining. The most we admit to is making a mistake or perhaps behavioral problems. But to admit that we are in profound trouble? Why? We all know there is nothing so terribly wrong with us.


What would it take for us to be awakened to the power of God in our lives right now?

HomiliesST. LOUIS REVIEW | 2022

Have you ever thought about what it takes to remain faithful to God? I don’t mean just the obvious things like don’t kill, don’t steal and don’t lie. I mean things like loving our enemies and doing good to those who hate us. I mean seeing every other person as a sister or brother and not as an object or someone less. What might it take for us to be faithful to those ways that God asks us to live?

The Gospel reading for the second Sunday of Lent is always about Jesus’ Transfiguration on the mountaintop. He takes Peter, James and John with Him and shows them the glory of God. They experience Jesus as the fullness of the law and the prophets, as He is accompanied by Moses and Elijah. They are so overcome by glory and power that they fall to their knees and hide their faces. They stammer and don’t quite know what to do with such a strong experience of God’s wonder and might. Yet when they are given a chance to be faithful to Jesus when things get tough, they denied Him. They walked with Him and listened to His teachings; they witnessed His miracles and shared fellowship with Him. You’d think that that would be enough for them to be faithful to Him until the end. But it wasn’t.

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In the Crypt Church at the Basilica of the National Shrine: Celebrant & Homilist: Rev. Andrew Fisher Guest Choir: St. Leo the Great Parish Children’s Choir, Fairfax, Virginia

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