2nd Sunday of Lent | February 20/21, 2016
Fr. Brian Zumbrum’s homilies and reflections are posted weekly at Leaven in the World. To see the archive of all his posts, just click here: Salesian Sermons
PROTIP: You can take a look at the Sunday readings here. This homily focuses on the Gospel reading.
So last week, I had the opportunity to take our eighth grade on an overnight retreat down in Cape May, NJ.
The first night of the retreat, we were all gathered in the living room, looking back over the middle school journey that each of them had taken. And like all journeys, it was filled with its share of difficult moments:
Failures and regrets.
Hurts and losses.
After the students had time to reflect, they were handed a stone to symbolize the weights they have carried. We then walked out into the frigid February air to head to the beach.
As soon as we stepped outside, the students began pointing up. Look at the stars, Fr. Brian. I have never seen them so clearly.
They were remarkable. A million points of light breaking through the darkness and illuminating our way as we marched to the sea to throw our stones into the ocean.
There we stood, united by both the heaviness that we carried and the moment that we shared. The moment when the light broke through, the weights were discarded, and we could walk away to begin again. To begin anew.
As we were walking away, one of the students put his hand on my shoulder and didn’t say a word. In silence we walked back to the house, guided by the stars and strengthened by each other as we left the darkness behind.
I couldn’t help but think of that night as I reflected on the readings for this weekend.
For in many ways, this feast reminds me of those brilliant stars breaking through the darkness of night.
All throughout Lent, my friends, we are moving towards Jesus’ darkest hours. We will hear the stories of temptation and trials, mounting anger and hostility, betrayal, deception and ultimately death.
And yet, in the midst of this darkness, we suddenly find ourselves on the mountain top, enveloped in the light and glory that is God. And for a little while, all of the darkness is banished. All of the fears and anxieties are held at bay.
Is it no wonder that the disciples did not want to leave? For who would not want to escape the darkness? The trials and tribulations of this life. The forces of pain and suffering, sickness and sin, injustice and death that are all too often a part of our journey.
But this was never the point of this feast. It was never meant to be an escape. It was meant to be a guiding star.
A reminder that even in the darkness, the light is still breaking through.
That even in the midst of the doubt and uncertainty, the light is still there to guide us home.
That even when all seems lost, the victory is already won.
My friends, our lives too have their share of darkness.
We too struggle with doubt and uncertainty.
We too have our share of hostilities, whether with co-workers or neighbors, estranged family members or former friends, exes and bullies.
We too have known loss and grief. We too have experienced heartbreak and rejection.
We too have sinned. We know our imperfections. Our brokenness. Our failures. Our regrets.
And like the disciples, we too may be tempted to escape. To try and avoid the darkness that will inevitably lie ahead on our journeys.
But that would be missing the point of this feast.
We would be missing the point that God is with us here and now, breaking through our darkness.
Healing what is hurting. Forgiving what is broken. Reconciling what is estranged.
Whether we are on the mountaintop or in the trenches, our God is here.
In a million little moments, our God is constantly reminding us of His unconditional love, reassuring us as he once reassured Abraham and Peter that we are not alone.
Reminding us through our concrete acts of life and light and love that we do for one another that our God is still alive and at work.
For every time we forgive one who has wronged us, we become an agent of this Transfiguration.
Every time we listen to one who needs to talk, comfort one whose heart is broken, hug one who fears the darkness, we become an agent of this Transfiguration.
Every time we stand up for one who is cast aside, stand by one in their moment of trial, or stand beside the one we love in good times and in bad, we become an agent of this Transfiguration.
Our Lenten journey is just beginning my friends.
May we be the light that will transfigure the world this day. May God be Praised.