Selection of the sermons of Father Ezekiel Oko

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Sermon for 2nd Sunday of Lent in the reading year: B

The view of the whole

We humans seek security; our life needs the anchor: reliability. Unfortunately, we sometimes lack that. We despair of the future when the reality we can perceive in the moment doesn't promise us security. Perhaps the problem is not just reality itself, but a lack of foresight.

"Is my perception sufficient enough to see the whole reality of my situation?" Or: "Am I missing the view for the whole thing?" These are important questions worth answering when I lack a sense of security, when I despair about the future!

Jesus tells his disciples that he must suffer death. This information about the impending death triggers uncertainty and despair in the hearts of the disciples. They want to be sure of their future. Peter takes Jesus aside and begins to correct him (cf. Mk 8:31-33). It's like he's telling Jesus, "Stop this nonsense! That unsettles our future!”

In this context, James and John also ask Jesus: “Master, we want you to grant us a request. …. In your glory make one of us sit on your right and the other on your left” (Mark 10:35-37). They too want to know that their future is secure.

So Jesus' disciples feel unsettled by the announcement of Jesus' imminent death. They despair of their future with Jesus. But this desperation is due to the fact that they cannot yet see the big picture. They need a transfiguration experience, a view of the whole. That's why Jesus leads them up the mountain. Peter, John and James are on this mountain with Jesus as representatives of the disciples.

There they learn that Jesus is not simply a miserable human being who is thrown back and forth by afflictions, but God's Son with heavenly splendor combined with the most secure tradition of the prophets and the eternal covenant with God. They get a view of the whole, which makes the credibility of Jesus clear to them and reveals the meaning of following Jesus. Because the disciples notice that his story is not just about his imminent death. No! It is also about his resurrection.

What's that to us? What does this story mean for us? First of all, I would answer: The Easter Penitential Season helps us to keep the whole thing in view. She's aiming for Easter. Although much is said and contemplated about the suffering and death of Christ, the goal remains the resurrection of Jesus. Together with suffering and death, his resurrection forms a whole that we must keep in mind.

Besides this liturgical meaning, the story of the disciples' despair and their experience of Jesus' transfiguration can also be our story as Christians. Sometimes we despair of the future because we can't see or understand the whole thing yet. If we can perhaps only see or perceive the threatening, precarious situations of our world and our lives, if that is taken out of the bigger picture and used solely to assess our lives and our future, then we begin to lose hope and see no possibility that the things get better.

This is what happens, dear sisters and brothers, when, for example, a doctor tells you that you have an incurable disease and you begin to interpret your life only in terms of the disease. Then you lose hope that the future can still promise something good. This desperation makes the situation worse and that doesn't help. To solve this problem, looking at the whole is very important! ...

A look at the whole! How can this happen? We learn that from the stories that are told to us in today's readings: The story of Abraham in the first reading, that is, the story of a man who was able to face an uncertain future because he had faith in God. He could not only perceive the uncertain future. He also kept his eyes on God's leadership.

In the story of Jesus' transfiguration we meet two people - Moses and Elijah. Although initially doubting his ability, Moses managed to lead the Israelites through the wilderness to the Promised Land. Confidence in his ability alone would not have been sufficient to accomplish this task. He too had faith in God. Elijah was able to persevere in his battles against godless kings and false prophets because he was allowed to experience God's help.

Dear sisters and brothers, trust in God completes our view of the reality of life. Like the disciples of Jesus who experienced the return of security when they heard the voice of the Father and saw the transfigured face of Jesus, we want to bring the threatening situations of our lives and our world to God. Confidence in him makes the picture more complete.

Gospel of 2nd Sunday of Lent in the reading year B;