St Francis Q&A

Sunday, March 08, 2009

2nd Sunday of Lent - homily

As many of you know, I like to use props sometimes during my homily. When I gave a homily on this Gospel (the Transfiguration) here almost three years ago, I used three t-shirts as props. The first shirt was a clean, white t-shirt that represented Christ’s clothes that became “dazzling white” at the Transfiguration. This shirt is the soul after Baptism. It is totally clean and dazzling white. I used another white shirt that had a little dirt on it – this is the soul that has committed venial sin. The Eucharist and Confession can remove this dirt and the soul becomes dazzling white again. I used a third shirt that was completely covered with dirt and mud; it was gross. This is the soul in mortal sin. Confession is necessary for the soul at this point; it can remove all of that mud and dirt and the soul can become dazzling white again.

I put the shirts in a large bin in the sanctuary just before Mass began. I didn’t want to put it out too early because I thought that someone might remove it – I assumed that people here weren’t used to seeing props during Mass. So, I waited until the last possible minute to put the bin with the shirts in the sanctuary. I then went to the vestibule a minute or so before Mass began.

We processed in as Mass started and I came up to the sanctuary. The bin was gone! It was nowhere to be found. What happened was my Mom came to Mass! She arrived just before Mass started, sat in the front and noticed the bin. She thought, ‘that doesn’t belong here’, and moved the bin into the sacristy. I spent the first part of Mass looking for the bin and finally found it as the readings were being proclaimed. My Mom told me after Mass what happened – I was like, “what, were you cleaning my room?”

I would like to focus on another part of this magnificent event, the Transfiguration. Peter sees Jesus’ clothes become dazzling white as he is there with Moses and Elijah and says, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here”. It is good that we are here. This is a line that we should all repeat from time to time. It is good that we are here with our family. It is good that we are here with our friends. It is good that we are here in the workplace. It is good that we are here with our parish family.

Years ago, I was part of a men’s prayer group in my home parish. This group of men would meet once a week to discuss the Sunday readings, faith, and life. When this Gospel came up, one of the men focused on this line from Peter. He was saying, “guys, it is good that we are here in this group”. It really struck him how good the group was and that he was blessed to be a part of it. The fact that he focused so powerfully on that line has always stayed with me and I try to repeat it whenever I am in a situation where it is good to be there.

Hopefully, we say this when we are with our family. It is good to be here. Family is everything! It is good to be with our family. It is not always easy and not always enjoyable to be with our family. But, it is good. We are all so blessed to have family.

We are all so blessed to have the friends we have. Many of us realize this in certain situations with our friends. We should say from time to time that it good to be here - with our friends.

Especially with the state of our economy as people are losing their jobs all over the place, we should say that it is good to be here – at work. Whether we say it to ourselves or to our co-workers, it is good to be here in the workplace.

I thank God every day that I am at St. Andrew’s. It is good to be here! We have a great parish. We are not perfect, but we are good. We are all so blessed to be in a parish community like this one. It is good to be here at St. Andrew’s.

The first part of Peter’s statement is key because he acknowledges that this event is from God. He says “Rabbi, it is good that we are here” Jesus took Peter, James, and John up the see the Transfiguration. He gave them that sight with him in dazzling white clothes. He has given us everything that is good– our family, our friends, our jobs, our parish family. We should appreciate all that we have as blessings from God. “Lord, it is good that we are here”.

Finally, it is good that we are here at Mass. It is not always easy and not always fun to be at Mass. But, it is good. It is the best thing that we will do all week! We come here as a family, hear the Word of God, and receive the Eucharist together. We come here to see a magnificent event like the Transfiguration. Through the eyes of faith, we see the bread and wine transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. As we approach the Eucharist today and received Him into our souls and bodies, let us say the words of Peter, “Lord, it is good that we are here”.


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