Homily March 1, 2015 2nd Sunday of Lent
If we look at today’s readings with a view of current events in the middle east, we have to remind ourselves of the very western point of view that we have. In our world, we speak of families and countries and have a world view very much shaped by all the conflicts of the last century. But really if we look at the middle east, the countries there are constructs of those conflicts and the shifting sands of tribalism that was current in Jesus’ time is there even today. In biblical times, the Peoples there were tribal, and the circle of life for people began with the family and the village and tribe. Outside of that all were strangers and of course suspicious. In the Bible, recall Israel as a tribe spent time in Egypt and in Babylon(Iraq today), subservient to others. The outlook on life was different and certainly even human sacrifice was not unheard of. We must not think that humanity just arrived at the 21st century and reached a measure of civility. Evil was in the world then and it is here now. While the story of Abraham and Isaac is a revelation of faith and trust and God’s care, it is also a reminder of what our ancestors were and what we have become. That hatred and murder and brutality are still in our world makes the point that much needs to be done to bring about a true revelation of God’s will for humanity to be one in his love.
Christ came into just such a world and in his one life had the call to bring God’s word to humanity. He knew what lay ahead of him and that his death was inevitable. Yet he knew God’s grace was a living and growing thing that would evolve and spread as time went on. Today’s gospel was meant certainly for his apostles, but also for assurance to him also. None of us starts out on a task without first preparing and assuring our self of making progress. That is what Christ did and he began a way, a path, a journey for all to follow to his Father. Many in the world today follow Christ, yet we see that there certainly are those who don’t. Hatred, violence, mistrust, poverty or just being helpless all lead to the ills and evil we see today.
Our faith calls us to look around and to reach out. We need be careful of exhibiting the comfort and triumphalism of the Scribes and pharisees who thought all was well and that they had all the answers. The only one with all the answers is God and he has bestowed them as he has seen fit and revealing them as he determined we were ready for them. More than anything, this is what we see in our readings today.