Thursday, March 13, 2014

Homily for Holy Spirit Catholic Community- Second Sunday of Lent by Rev. Beverly Bingle, RCWP

It's more and more a challenge for me to read Paul's letters and try
to separate the faith message from his Greco-Roman mindset and the two
millennia of literal interpretation and atonement theology that also
sprang out of his conversion experience. A lot of that has to be set
aside before I can hear the Good News that rings out in today's second
reading, that God calls us to a holy life. That's the call that Paul
himself heard on the way to Damascus. It was an epiphany for him, an
insight into reality that sat him down on the ground, a vision that
spoke to his innermost being and blinded him to all that he had ever
envisioned before that moment.

The same thing happens to Abram. He and Sarah had left Ur with his
father and settled in Haran. He's 75 years old, successful but
childless. Then he hears the voice of Yahweh, the first call that's
recorded in all of our scripture, clearly instructing him: Leave your
country, your people, your home. Leave security and safety! Move!
Change! Imagine him running into the tent, Yahweh's voice ringing in
his ears, calling to Sarah, "Pack up! We're moving!" What did Sarah
say to that! She'd already moved from Ur to Haran, and now another
trek! "Where?" she would have asked. And Abram would have told her
that he didn't know, but God would show them. And so they went. No
wonder we call them our ancestors in faith. Their lives are filled
with these moments of revelation, angels predicting Isaac's birth,
Yahweh stopping the hand that would sacrifice their first-born, more
moves and changes, chats with Yahweh and Yahweh's messengers.

In the same way our Gospel tells us of the moment when Peter, James,
and John see, in Jesus--their inspiring Galilean friend--a powerful
expression of the Divine Presence. Jesus is glowing--his divine nature
appears luminous; what was dimly perceived before becomes transparent
to them. They now understand that he is solidly grounded in, in
intimate relationship with, the Law and the Prophets that form the
basis of their Jewish beliefs. Then they see the Law and the Prophets
fade away, with only Jesus remaining. They have an epiphany moment, a
transfiguration of their understanding: they get a glimpse of what
Jesus has been talking about; they grasp a new insight into the reign
of God. They don't know how to respond to this grace, so they suggest
putting up the festival tents.

We all have these moments: epiphanies, Abraham moments,
transfigurations. We may call them awarenesses, discoveries,
revelations, exaltations, spiritual experiences. They are moments of
insight where God seems to be drawing aside a curtain and showing the
real nature and meaning of things. The experience is so different--and
so important--that we have to struggle to find words to talk about it,
just as the apostles did, just as the scripture writers did.

This past Thursday as I stood on a sidewalk in the snow talking with a
friend, he pointed out the bright sunlight and the snow on the
branches of a spruce tree across the street. I know that moment was
important, and I know that I'll remember it for a long time; I also
know I cannot yet come close to articulating its meaning. Those
unpredictable, unforgettable times of sudden vision: they give us
hope; they make it clear; they comfort us. We return to them again
and again as time goes on, gaining each time a deeper understanding of
God and the world and ourselves.

It's impossible to describe, though we try. And it's impossible not
to communicate it: it shows in our lives. Like the apostles, we come
to these insights through others--in our parents, teachers, spouses,
friends, and co-workers.

Lent gives us time to reflect on these Abraham moments, these
epiphanies, these transfigurations in our lives. Lent gives us space
to see the Divine Presence glowing with brilliant light in people, in
our world, in ourselves.

God speaks, as Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote, in ten thousand places.
We listen.

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Mass at 2086 Brookdale (Interfaith Chapel):
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 9 a.m.
Mass at 3535 Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.

Rev. Bev Bingle, Pastor

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