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Homily – Lent 2C: Catch a Fire!

March 1, 2010

The audio for the Gospel reading is here.  The audio for the homily is here.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of sponsoring two of the five men from our parish who attended Cursillo, a retreat program here in the diocese.  If you don’t know about Cursillo…well, you will.  They are on fire, and unless you are deaf and blind, they will be coming to talk with you!   Cursillo is a great program; I am looking forward to its fruits in these men, and in our parish.

What was most fascinating about all five of them when they returned was how on fire they all were.  They couldn’t stop talking about how much they could now see they had to go out and get done, all for the greater glory of Christ!  They want to evangelize the world, one person at a time!  Like most people who attend a Cursillo, I bet, they had a personal encounter with our Risen Lord, and now they feel like nothing can stop them!

What do they do with that, though?  Where does that lead them?  And where do our encounters with Christ lead us?

Move I

Look at today’s readings.  In both the Old Testament reading and in the gospel, men, encounter God, and something transformational happens to them!  Abram talks with God, and God makes him a promise.  God tells Abram, whose wife had been childless for decades, that his descendents would be as numerous as the stars…and Abram believed God!  And they went on to form a covenant that endures to this day!

In the Gospel, we have the three “favorite” Apostles, Peter, James, and John, heading out on a mini-retreat, to spend a little time alone with Jesus.   And what happens?  Jesus is transfigured right before their eyes, and the Apostles hear a voice from Heaven telling them, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”  They are on retreat with Jesus, and God speaks to them!  And how did they react?  “They fell silent and did not at that time tell anyone what they had seen.”  They were probably a little frightened by what they saw and heard, and they clammed up! 

In both these instances, the men who encountered God had something huge happen to them.  Abram went from being a simple desert nomad, to become the father of a great nation!  The Apostles continued their transformation from simple fishermen into the foundation of the Church!

Move II

We have opportunities to come face to face with God in our own lives much more often than we might think!  It might be something as simple as a moment of prayer.  It might be a song we hear on the radio, or in Mass.  It might be the moment of the birth of a child; it might be the moment of death of a spouse or a parent.  It might be at a retreat like Cursillo, or SEARCH, or maybe an event like the Bishop’s Men’s Morning, which we’ll be sponsoring in a few weeks. 

It might even be something as simple, and yet as profound, as the Eucharist!  When we approach the priest, in faith, to receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of God’s Son in the Eucharist, we have an opportunity to come face-to-face with our Risen Lord, if only we can discern Him there!

And when we meet Him, brothers and sisters, it can have a huge effect on us, tooWe can be energized to go out and share what we have seen and heard!  And when that happens, the world starts to change, one person at a time!

Move III

But…what if that’s just “not us”?  What if we’re not into that “mountaintop” stuff?  What if we’re just too busy, or too stressed, or simply can’t make the time

Or, what if the mundane tasks of everyday life just eat up all the available time in our days?  In truth, we do have to spend a lot of time in the “valleys” of life, raising kids, holding down jobs, going to school… maybe it’s a little difficult to see the Glorified Jesus where we are.

But see, brothers and sisters, this is why the Church calls us, during this time of Lent, to be more attentive to where we are with Christ.  That’s why we’re called to slow down…simplify…retreat.  That’s why we are called to “go without”. 

That’s also why the Church calls us to commit to something more during Lent as well.  Attending daily Mass…participating in Stations of the Cross and Eucharistic Adoration…setting aside more time to pray…making a retreat. 

You see, if we can successfully get the world out of our faces, if we can lower the level of background noise, if we can just get to a place where God can reach us, we are more likely to hear God’s voice.  We are more likely to see Jesus in our brothers and sisters, in the beauty of the world around us…in the Eucharist.  And we are more likely to be transformed, just as Abram was transformed, and just as the Apostles were tranformed!


There are people encountering Christ all the time.  Bryan, Jim, Doug and the two Daves all saw Christ last weekend.  So did all the men they were on retreat with.  Just as the apostles who were with Jesus saw a side of Jesus they had never seen before, so did those guys who made Cursillo.

We all have that possibility as well, brothers and sisters.  Jesus is there to be encountered all around us:  in the people we work with and go to school with, in the lady in front of us at the grocery line, and in the people around us here in Mass.  And He is most fully present to us on this altar, every time we celebrate the Eucharist

This Lent can be an opportunity to encounter him more closely.  Take time to look for Him in the events of every day.  And take time out:  push back the world, and let Jesus in.

Wanna be transformed?  Let Jesus in!  Wanna set the world on fire?  Let Jesus in.  Let Jesus meet us face to face.

There’s gonna be some heat.

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