HOMILY: From Mountaintop to Mountaintop

Fr. Brian Zumbrum’s homilies and reflections are posted weekly at Leaven in the World prior to a given Sunday. To see the archive of all his posts, just click hereSalesian Sermons

2nd Sunday of Lent, Year A | March 15/16, 2014

This homily was written for a Mass at Georgetown Visitation, an all-girls high school in Washington, DC.

PROTIP: Before reading on, be sure to take a look at the Sunday readings here. This homily focuses on the Transfiguration.

Does anyone else ever feel that this feast just doesn’t make sense in Lent?

I mean just last week we were talking about deserts and demons and temptations.

And now, we’re on a mountain top with saints appearing, lights a gleaming and Jesus basking in the warmth of his Father’s love.

I don’t know why, but the placement of this feast just bothers me.

I mean, we know what’s coming, don’t we.  We know the next mountain that he will climb.

And I just can’t help but ask the question . . .

Did Jesus ever think about this mountaintop as he was dying upon another?

Did he think about how Peter had shared in this moment with him?  How he had wanted to stay and never leave?  Did it make it even more painful, knowing that Peter was now nowhere to be found?

Could he even remember the words spoken by his Father.  This is my beloved Son.

When the skies were closed.

When the world was dark

And when even God seemed to have abandoned him

The Transfiguration. The Crucifixion. Could you find two more contradictory events?

But, strangely enough, the more I wrestled with this contradiction, the more the placement of this feast began to make sense.

Because, I began to see the connection between these two summits.  I came to realize that for most of us, our lives are a constant journey between these two mountains.

We too have our transfigured mountain tops . . .  Moments in which everything makes sense.  When God seems to be present in the very air we breathe.  When our hearts are filled with contentment, laughter, light, and love.

As we dance with our daughter on her wedding day

As we accept our profession cross for the first time

As we bring our Kairos experience to a close

As we spend that perfect summer evening with friends sit around a campfire swapping stories and staring at the stars.

As we watch our students, our children walk across that stage and collect their diploma

These are the moments that we treasure.

The ones that we carry with us as we head back down the mountain.

And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we know that we have also climbed the other mountain.  The mount of Calvary

As we heard those words that shattered our hearts

It’s a matter of days or weeks.

He’s gone.

It’s cancer

As we endured the biting tongues of those we had trusted.

As we failed as a student, as a parent, as a employee, as a friend

As we said goodbye to the life we once lived, denied to us now because of circumstances outside of our control.

As we sat alone in our room and cried over our addictions, painfully watching as we slowly sacrificed all we held dear to the demons of alcohol and anger, porn and work.

And like Jesus, we too have cried out.  My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?

And yet, little by little, the clouds have parted and we have slowly climbed down from these mountains as well.

Heading back down to the path composed of our daily routines, our minor frustrations, and of the blessings of our lives, both great and small.

See maybe, it is not a matter of either/or.  Maybe today’s feast is a reminder to embrace the both/and of life.  To offer it all up as our gifts before the altar, allowing them to be transformed by the Holy Spirit.

Both the highs and the lows

The ordinary and the extraordinary

The summer rains and the winter gales

The moments of clarity and the moments of doubt.

The shimmering light and the encroaching darkness

The beginnings, the endings, and everything in between

Confident that just like Peter, we do not walk it alone.  Be Not Afraid my friends.  Our journey continues.  Our God is with us.

May God be Praised

Image courtesy of http://cruzblanca.org/hermanoleon/index.htm

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