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Homily (Reflection) for the Second Sunday of Lent (C) (21st February, 2016) on the Gospel

Gen 15:5-12.17-18;
Ps 26:1.7-9.13-14. (R.v.1);
Phil 3:17–4:1 or 3:20–4:1;
Lk 9:28-36.

Topic: Keep your fork.
Last Sunday Jesus foretold His own death and also what await all those who would be His disciples. They were really scaring. It was therefore very necessary for the scared disciples to see that the coin at hand hasn’t only a scaring face. Hence in today’s gospel after about eight days Jesus took with Him Peter, James, and John up to a mountain to pray. While praying He was transfigured before the trio.

Moses and Elijah appeared in glory and discussed with Jesus His departure to be accomplished at Jerusalem. The duo represented the Law and the prophets. And in sum the whole scripture (Old Testament). When they were about to leave, “Peter said to Jesus, ‘Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah’ – not knowing what he said” (Lk 9:33). Peter was still on this when they were covered with a crowd and a voice declared, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” (Lk 9:35).

We see one of the pillars of Lent (prayer) in today’s gospel. Prayer is very important in our struggles in this life, cf. Matt 6:13; 26:41; Mk 14:38; Lk 22:40; 22:46. We are not fighting “against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12).

In every sphere of life we do have disheartening experiences individually and collectively. Sometimes it looks as if one has actually come to the end of the road. And at some other time, one might even wonder if the price worth the stress.

There was a very pious elderly lady who while discussing her funeral mass with her priest requested, “‘When they bury me, I want my old Bible in one hand and a fork in the other’.

“A fork? Why do you want to be buried with a fork?’ asked the priest.

“I have been thinking about all of the church dinners and banquets that I attended through the years,’ she explained. ‘One thing sticks in my mind. At those really nice get-togethers, when the meal was almost finished, a server would come by to collect the dirty dishes. I can hear the words now. Sometimes, at the best ones, somebody would lean over my shoulder and whisper, ‘You can keep your fork.’ And do you know what that meant? Dessert was coming! It didn’t mean a cup of Jell-O or pudding or even a dish of ice cream. You don’t need a fork for that. It meant the good stuff, like chocolate cake or cherry pie! When they told me I could keep my fork, I knew the best was yet to come! That’s exactly what I want people to talk about at my funeral. Oh, they can talk about all the good times we had together. That would be nice. But when they walk by my casket and look at my pretty blue dress, I want them to turn to one another and say, ‘Why the fork?’ And I want you to tell them that I kept my fork because the best is yet to come![1]

As one goes through the hurdles of this life it is important to remember always like this old woman that the main thing is not here but in the life to come. Let no one allow anything come between him/her with God, cf. Rom 8:35-39. Keep your fork for that banquet by listening to Jesus Christ, cf. Prov 8:32. They are truly blessed who will make the marriage supper of the Lamb, cf. Rev 19:9. It worth much more than anything one might go through in this life, cf. Rom 8:18; 1Cor 2:9; Matt 25:34. Truly in the words of Saint Peter, it is good to be there.

Bible Reading: Rom 8:31-39; 1Pt 1:3-12; 2Tim 4:1-8.

Thought for today: Are you in or out of the race?

Let us pray: Almighty God, help us to finish this race gloriously and await the crown reserved for the elect (cf. 2Tim 4:7-8) – Amen.

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[1] Thomas, T. (2010). Spice up your homilies. Mumbai: St Pauls, pp. 135-136.

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