Second Sunday in Lent: Matthew 17-1-9
God asked Abraham to leave his land, take everything and everyone with him and move to a new land. Later God asked Moses to take the Hebrews from Egypt into a promised new land. And Jesus? Well, He too had to leave Joseph and Mary back in Nazareth and begin his mission out on the road. And when He was crucified and died, He didn't even have a tomb of His own.
Many of us as adults feel like we are in a lot of ways, strangers and exiles living in an alien and hostile culture or world. Quite a few feel that it's not possible to be a good Christian, or a total and complete Christian or Catholic, and at the same time live in the sort of world in which we find ourselves. We feel like our laws and rules are being redefined so that people can do simply what they feel like doing. Nevertheless, God wants us to have roots, to have a place, to belong. We all need a place in which we can find ourselves, and a family in which we can belong.
One of the remarkable things about the Catholic Church is the fact that in it you belong no matter where you find yourself on the face of the earth. I have entered churches in many other parts of the world, participated in Masses in them, and instantly felt at home even though the language wasn't my native one. It's a wonderful feeling to enter St. Peter's basilica in the Vatican and be able to say, "This is my church! These people represented in statues and stained glass windows are a part of my family and I belong to them just as they belong to me."
Likewise, we need to be able to respond to God the way others have when He called them to accomplish His work. Could you leave everything in back of you if He called you to make a radical change in your life? Like Abraham, you would have to leave your security and familiar surroundings behind you. Sometimes God calls you to empty yourself in order that He might fill you with what He wants to give you. Could you do it? Abraham made new room for God. So did Moses. And Jesus totally emptied himself in order to be completely filled with God's Holy Spirit.
This Lent we are invited to embrace a journey moving from ashes to New Life. The tomb of Jesus is empty because the things of this world are all destined to turn into dust. We are dust, and unto dust we shall return, along with all of the glitter of this world. Our citizenship and our home are elsewhere and our hearts will not rest until they rest in the home God has prepared for us sharing New Life.
Our hearts can experience some of that peace, some of that rest, right here in this church, in God's house, in His Presence here in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. This is God's house, and therefore it is your house, your home. This is where your family shares its Sunday meal and where, whenever we come here, we know at last we belong.