Sunday, March 4, 2012

Christ's Light Appears Brighter in the Midst of our Temptations, Sufferings, and Loneliness

Listen to my homily:

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Mass Readings for the 2nd Sunday of Lent.

The three children of Fatima, Portugal saw a vision:
"At the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘PenancePenancePenance!'."
This was interpreted by the then Prefect of the Congregation of Doctrine of Faith, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, who said that Our Lady held up to the angel all of the penance of the faithful.  Lent is a season of penance and therefor a season of light, where we are illumined in the ways in which we are not pleasing to God and given the grace to change our lives.  It is a season of hope, where God affirms us in the capacity to cease doing evil and learn to do good.

This is the light of Jesus face in the Gospel, which shines forth even brighter when we see his light in our darkness.  The light of the baby at Christmas is that God is with us.  How much more resplendent is that light and the fact that God is with us when we are in the midst of temptation, suffering, isolation, abandonment, and fear!  Blessed Pope John Paul has said that the light of Mt Tabor is the same as the light at Mt Calvary as St Faustina, the Divine Mercy nun, has said that the light of Jesus in his resurrection and in his divine Mercy is the same light that issues forth from the face of Christ Crucified.

The light of God is that the Father has given his dearly beloved Son over to temptation for our sake, that we may not say that he does not know what it is like and what we are going through.  In fact, he took all our temptation upon himself and suffered it himself, conquering all our temptations personally in his own time in the desert.  Just like the first reading where Abraham suffered the test of God, God suffers our testing, trials, and questioning hearts, so that we may not doubt that he is with us in trial and pain.

The Eucharistic Lord illumines us brightly.  The Eucharistic Miracle of Santarem reveals this. A woman went to a witch in order to cast a spell on her unfaithful husband.  The witch told her that she needed a consecrated host.  The woman went to Church and stole a host at communion time.  It began to bleed so she locked it in a chest.  In the middle of the night, a light greater than the sun illumined the whole village, until the people asked where the light came from.  A priest took the host and placed it in Church, where it remains to this day.  The Eucharist contains our God and Lord, Jesus Christ, who is brighter than any light of the sun and when we receive him he consumes us in the rays of his love giving us the light and the love we need to change our sinful ways and begin to become pleasing to God.

This Lent, may the light of Christ bring us to a true communion of the Most Holy Trinity, who was manifest on Mt Tabor in the Father's voice to listen to the glorious Son, and the mysterious cloud of the Holy Spirit.  May the Immaculate Virgin Mary, whose love is like pure water in the midst of our aridity, refresh us and help us grow and change to become more like her glorious Son, Jesus Christ the Lord.

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