04 March 2007

Transfigured for our Sanctification

The lectionary for Mass according to the rite of St Gregory (WRV) appoints the Matthean account of Our Lord's transfiguration as the Gospel for the Second Sunday in Lent (Reminiscere). Here is an excerpt from the sermon I preached today on that pericope. For the full sermon, click here.

Our Blessed Lord Jesus, the Savior of mankind, established the Faith which calls the wicked to righteousness, sinners to repentance, the unmerciful to acts of mercy, the proud to humility, and the dead to life. This faith, then, is not inert, but active. It is not a true statement that we hold in our minds, but the life we are to live. For this reason, the holy Apostle Paul beseeches us not merely to believe, but also to walk in the faith we have received. For your sanctification is the will of God; which means, that Our Lord and God showers His mercy upon us so that we might become holy, just as He is holy.

Yet let us clearly understand and even confess that the holiness to which Our Lord calls us, the holiness His Spirit desires to live within us—this holiness is not lived by what we determine to be holy deeds, holy words, holy thoughts, or holy actions. The holiness to which we are called is the holiness Our Lord lived and taught, which is the same holiness expounded by the Apostles, which is the same holiness given by Christ’s holy Church.

So when the Church urges you to fast, to pray and to give alms; to exercise self-discipline, to attend liturgy and to be merciful; to abstain from fleshly lusts, to call upon Our Father without ceasing, and to reward evil with kindness—the Church is both calling you to true holiness, and showing you the path of holy living.

Yet the call to a life of active holiness is not easy to follow. For our fallen inclination is either to prefer what we call holy, or to dabble in works of darkness which lead us away from holiness, and so away from the Holy Spirit.

So that we might see true holiness; so that we might understand and strive for the goal of holiness; and so that we might be strengthened to live not for ourselves but for our holy God, Our Blessed Lord and Savior sets before us a shining example in His own body.

...

Knowing our weak selves, then, and so that we might not hesitate in taking up the cross by living the life of self-discipline, prayer, and mercy, Our Lord Jesus shows the brightness of His glory to Peter, James and John; and through them, to His Holy Church and so also to us. For like these holy apostles, we surely acknowledge and confess the majesty of God in Christ. Yet we must also know and believe that such majesty, such glory, such power, such salvation and such undying mercy is contained within His Body.

It is this Body of Christ that, unworthy as we are, we are graced to take into our own bodies by means of the Holy Eucharist. And it is this Body of Christ that, unworthy as we are, we are blessed to live within as member of His holy Church. And by this Body of Christ, we are strengthened in the Spirit to live against the desires of our sullied minds and polluted flesh, and instead to will to do whatever is pleasing to God our Father.

1 comment:

Fr. James Early said...

Beautiful sermon, Fr. John. Once again, Axios! and Welcome home. By the way, if you get a minute, please check out my new blog at http://saintjameskids.blogspot.com.

Fr. James Early
Houston, TX