Fr Thomas’ Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Lent

Encounter Jesus the Saviour

As a boy I remember reading headlines in the newspaper about a priest on trial for murder.  The accusation was that he murdered a poor single mother.  Having been brought up in a staunch Catholic family and a society that looked up to Catholic priests as great spiritual leaders, nothing could have been more scandalous to me than the trial and conviction of Fr Benedict for murder.  The whole state of Kerala was shocked and the priests were weighed down with shame.  Fr Benedict had to endure the stigma of a murder for about five decades.  Then came the confession from a member of the real killer that they had set up Fr Benedict, an innocent and holy priest.  Imagine what a shame and scandal the family members of the priest had to endure until the truth was made known.  Similarly, the disciples were scandalised when Jesus told them that ‘He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and that He must be killed. ’ (Ref Mt 16:21).  To help the moral of the disciples, the divinity of Jesus was vindicated to them through the transfiguration.

        We Christians, living in a glorious Church, after the resurrection of Jesus, are not scandalised by the passion and crucifixion of the Lord.  Yet we ask whether we have real faith and trust in God to believe that the miseries and uncertainties of our lives also are part of God’s salvation plan for us?  The promise of becoming ‘the father of a people’ was something beyond the grasp of Abraham who had only Isaac as his progeny.   But he trusted the Word and call of God.   In this Lent let us ask ourselves whether we have a faith like Abraham.  Are you prepared to trustingly wait for God to reveal his plan for you in his good time, not mine?

        Moses went up to Sinai to meet God. Peter with his companions went up a mountain to see the divinity of Jesus.  We Christians don’t climb any mountain tops to meet with God divine.  Instead we make a journey resolutely to our parish Church to meet with the divinity of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.  We do better than pitching a tent; we connect with Jesus through Holy Communion and become part of his living body.  Our personal encounter with Christ prepares us for the scandal of the crosses in our lives.   Being in Communion with Jesus Christ, we are enlightened to see the sufferings and rejections as prelude to the new life in Christ.  It is so different to the world view which judges the crosses as scandalous failures.   Lent is a time of schooling for you and me to go up to Jesus in the Eucharist to encounter the Son of God who saves us.