Basic Information

Mass Location: St. Mary Magdalen Chapel, 2532 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo, CA 93010
Mass Time: Sunday 10 a.m. (check parish website bulletin for special feastdays which may be different)
Confessions: 9:00-9:45 a.m. - see schedule below

Monday, February 22, 2016

Homily - Second Sunday of Lent - February 21, 2016

1 Thes. 4:1-7; Mt. 17:1-9

Every year, on the Second Sunday of Lent, we have this gospel of the Transfiguration of our Lord.  He is on His way to Jerusalem now, from Galilee, where He will undergo His cross and suffering.  He has announced this to His disciples, but they can hardly understand.  And so He gives them this glimpse of His risen glory, to encourage them, and so they will know that He is capable of accomplishing what He has told them He will do in the resurrection.

And so, He encourages them, and He encourages us, too, during this Lenten season, as we journey towards Easter.  He gives them, and us, a glimpse of His glory, so that we may know that He is able to accomplish in us the life He has begun in us.

But there is more.  The early Church fathers see a connection between this episode in the gospel today and our Lord’s baptism, where, similarly, the dove appears above Him, and the voice of the Father is heard, “This is my beloved Son.  Listen to Him.”  So that the glory that we see in our Lord, is the glory which has been planted in us by our baptism, to be revealed in the resurrection.  It belongs to Him by His nature, but also to us by sanctifying grace.

I always think of the ancient days, when the catechumens would be present, preparing for baptism, confirmation, and the Eucharist at Easter.  Maybe the priest would have told them that baptism implants in us the divine life, and confirmation intensifies it, and that both leave a character, an indelible mark on our souls.  And that this life is sustained in us by the Eucharist.

In my many years as a priest, I have administered extreme unction many times.  I am sure that in the seminary, I read and studied the introduction to the rite.  But I happened to be reading it again a few years ago.  It says that if there is not enough time to do the whole rite, simply anoint the person with the words of the sacrament.  And if there is not enough time for that, to administer the Holy Eucharist, “the pledge of resurrection.”  “This is the bread for a man to eat and never die.”

See what God has given us, our souls beautifully adorned with the character of baptism and confirmation.  The Eucharist, the real presence of our Lord sustaining us in our journey, the pledge of risen life.

Then we must see ourselves this way.  I learned this many years ago from Sr. Christine, a cloistered Carmelite nun in Alhambra.  She had entered Carmel from our parish, and I was given the privilege of visiting her once or twice a year, at the convent, where I would be permitted in the parlor, and she would appear behind a grill, and we would talk.  Once, I told her, “Sister, I think I have come to the point in my life where I am less reliant on the way others see me, and more on how I see myself.”  That’s pretty good, isn’t it?  And she said, “No, Father, the way God sees you.”

She is right, the way God sees us.  Christ is the true mirror of who we really are.  And when we see ourselves the way He sees us, we see the life, the gifts, the pledge that He gives us, which gives us encouragement.  And for that which is not of God, He gives us the to carry our crosses with Him, knowing that, overcome by Christ and the glory of the resurrection, the cross leads us to promised life.