16 March 2014
Homily ~ Cyber Version
Lent ~ Discoveries of Prayer
How many of us, during the day or before coming into the church checked to see if there was any emails or text messages that perhaps we were expecting? We are a people who have come to expect others to be messaging us, in some shape or form.
Now, how many of us, during the week, or perhaps coming to Mass, walking into the church expect to hear from God? Maybe we think God is too busy. Maybe we think God has no need or great desire to speak to me. Or perhaps we are afraid of what God may ask or speak about. Are we afraid of those discoveries to be made in prayer.
God does long to speak to our hearts and lives. Christ, present in the readings of Scripture this day clearly expresses accounts and examples of how, this powerful season of Lent, we can grow in discoveries of prayer, of God, of ourselves.
Prayer ~ Talking to God: For many we understand prayer as “saying our prayers”, i.e., talking to God. With faith and blessing we say the rosary, the Our Father, or the Stations of the Cross. We tell God of our needs and hopefully our thanksgivings. In our Gospel reading we see Peter, James and John taken by our Lord, to the Mount of Transfiguration. There Peter seems to understand this is a time and place for prayer. And he starts talking, a lot. Our Heavenly Father, hearing Peter’s chatter, interrupts. This brings us to ask..does God need to interrupt our prayers to get a word in edgewise? It shows us what we miss by failing to listen, by not watching...Him. How often do we come to a moment, time or place of prayer, rattle off what our intentions are and then rush on without really looking to God or hearing a reply?
Prayer ~ Watching & Listening: We are, as disciples of Christ are called to follow Him. To watch and listen, to His way, His Will, His purposes. We see this relationship illustrated in the roles acted out in such dramas as Downtown Abbey. The footmen, the butler, ladies maids are all and always attentive to their masters. They tend to their tasks often with no verbal direction from their lord and his household. They watch and they listen. Sadly in our prayer life we miss this grace, profoundly and often tragically.
In our Old Testament reading we witness God speaking to Abram, telling him to follow His guidance to the promised land. In that era of primitive faith Abram knew how, knew to..watch and listen for God. Times have changed. God has not. As it was in Abram’s day, as it was that day on the Mount of Transfiguration, God yearns for our attention. And it is in that faith, the listening in the silence that we learn to hear God speaking, in the Scriptures, in creation, in and through the fullness of His Eucharistic Body and His Body of we we are.
Prayer ~ Responding to God: It is as we seek to watch and listen, as we share our hearts of hope or wounds that Jesus calls us to respond to Him. God the Father, speaking in the cloud clearly spoke to the disciples, “Listen To Him”. The first words Jesus spoke after that command were simple and clear: “Rise and do not be afraid”. As God called the early disciples to rise from their fears, as God called Abram to rise from his earthly securities so God calls each of us, to rise, from our fears and follow Him to discover the promises of His Kingdom, this season of Lent and for all eternity.
It is in our watching and listening that the response of our lives becomes the real Amen.