2nd SUNDAY OF LENT, YEAR A
OT Reading highlight: Gen. 12. “The LORD said to Abram: “Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you. “I will make of you a great nation,
and I will bless you.” …Abram went as the LORD directed him.
NT Reading highlight: Beloved: Bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God. He saved us and called us to a holy life… GOSPEL Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light… behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”
Intro to the liturgy….In Genesis 12 (first reading) today, a modern adaptation can be: Abram—You are hearing Me right! I AM the True and Living God, and I say to you: it is time for you and other family to leave the city of Ur, there of the Tigris and Euphrates region—for it is a place now of little faith but of much debauchery! Go forth!…I your God will lead you along the way to re-start somewhere else—for you and all your good kin to be holy in Me! Like with Noah, I AM The God of the Re-Start. What of the others in your region? ‘Sad to say, their lives of great sin have blocked Me out, and they will not hear Me, for they are too busy listening to themselves!—but now I must move you on, so that I can make of you and yours a nation of goodness, faith and greatness. I will bless you so, but get moving on, Abram, and with Lot your cousin.
My Resurrection friends in Christ Jesus, we are in Lent and it’s a time, place and way of being called to move… oh, not so much to another land, but within for movement of being more into the Light of God, into conversion, and into the Goodness of God for Whom and in why we are created—and so to part ways with worldly sin, ungodliness and of any compromise with our being true children of God. We are meant to be in the goodness of The Lord, not the mire of sickly sin, which too many in our society are caught in. Hear the call again in the 2nd Timothy 1 Epistle line of this Lenten Mass: God has saved us and called us to a holy life… so, beloved, bear your share of living the gospel, even if it’s hard, for the gospel brings us the strength of God. In the Transfiguration Gospel today, God says to listen and believe to My beloved Son with Whom I am pleased.
HOMILY KERYGMA, PART 1 MARCH 5, 2023
We are called to live the godly life, the Gospel, people! If so, then we need to know ”kerygma.” That is what this homily (and four more in Lent) will be about.
What is kerygma? Is it an all-natural breakfast cereal—like Kind Granola, Kashi Oats or Grape Nuts? No. Kerygma is not such a cereal! Then, what is Kergyma—for it’s a theological word very much tied to the gospel call. (Listening to guesses) Ok, yes. It is an English word over from a Greek word… thanks…and it could be a good scrabble word?…ok, yes, 17 points…) Answer: Kerygma is a Greek word that means “proclamation.” It’s the proclamation of salvation through Jesus Christ. It’s about the dying-rising Mystery of Salvation –brought in the One Person, Jesus Christ, Who has come to Human People, to us poor sinners needing Grace. Kerygma is the core or basic teaching of Christianity and salvation. It’s the news of our saving God revealed in Christ Jesus. It has four steps or essential elements. It can be referred to in four little words. 1/Created 2/Captured 3/Rescued/4/Response.
#1. Created. We have been created for God, and He calls us to wholeness in relationship with Him (or them—the Holy Trinity). We are made in the image of God—imago dei. That’s the key first element. God’s goodness made us and made us for Himself. 2/ Captured. We’ve been captured in sin and death. Oh, misery! Or Caught up in it. Or maybe a better “C” word—all humanity crashed, and brought the planet down with us. Created, Crashed, and 3/ Rescued. It’s the story of God’s Eternal Son keeping in love with us poor sinners, and coming to the rescue. Created, Crashed, Rescued and 4/ Response. The Church and true believers are a people in Response to what we’ve seen done for us, particularly in Christ Jesus, in what God’s eternal Son has done for us.
I am going to go over all four essential elements in Lent, and in this 1030 Mass and live-stream (and with homily printed on the web site, too) to ready us for Easter 2023.
Kerygma is often described in terms of (#1) the loving plan of God for human beings; which I cover today, then (#2) sin and its devastating consequences, especially separation from God; (#3) God’s answer to our predicament in the sending of His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation; and (#4) the response expected and needed to this gift of God, as to repent, believe and live in Jesus’ Name.
We will start with Created, as in the loving plan of God for human beings. Where does our meaning of life all start? It starts at the start. There is a goodness of God and it’s seen in Creation and how you and I humans are creations of God. Imago Dei—made in the image and likeness of God.
Kerygma is core teaching that first we come from One Creator God. We believe this, and not only that our being is created, but that God has made us in the image and likeness of God (Himself). We are born to be reflections of His Love somewhat like how the moon holds light in the sky, that is not its own light but that of the sun upon it. So I am not saying we are meant to be moonies ☺, but—as imago dei, as being God’s children—and it’s personal and a living reality, for the Light is the Personal God beaming relationship onto and into us.
Humans and other life on this planet have our source of being to God, but humans are distinct creations in of our being uniquely born to be reflections of God, even if we’re still on the level of being creatures, we are more. We are made of body and soul, and with a mind and reason, and of being like God; thus, we’re made for a high purpose on this earth or what ahead awaits us. Today’s line of 2nd Timothy of that God calls us to a holy life by our following the gospel following. He means that this is a reconciliation call back to the loving and good plan God had for us in humanity, since the creation and before! Did you hear verses 9 and 10 of the 2nd Timothy reading today? “This grace (favor) was given us in Christ Jesus before time, but it has now been revealed to us in Him.”!!! May we each have our discovery of the revelation of the utmost about Jesus Christ—like Peter, James and John got up on Mount Tabor. You and I need to know Jesus well, too!
First we know He pre-existed as Eternal Son, there are the Creation, making us in humanity out of the goodness of God, Who has made us for Himself, for His good pleasure, and to be stewards, or cooperators within His creation plan, with a stewardship responsibility in it. From the front part of the Bible as to its ending, it’s message of God’s goodness meant for us is uplifting, as Revelations 4:1 proclaims: “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for you have created all things, and for Your pleasure they are created.” Hallelujah. We are meant to be as creations ( or now re-creations) of God in Christ Jesus. God is good. He’s had that special plan for us.
You and I were made for a high and wholly, good purpose. It’s stamped into you, that is, in that you are in God’s image and likeness. Even while the Fall of humanity does come in history, a goodness of God in creation is first done in the blueprint. As we will hear proclaimed at the Easter Vigil Genesis reading, how God spent some “days” of Creation, calling His work good and pleasing as He went along, leading to a culmination day six in His making of male and female human beings. He called it basically all “good” –this Creation and with its living beings. That we are made last, as the pinnacle work, on the six day, and that is how we were made, for that honorable place. God as the image for man would become human Himself one day in Christ Jesus. That is Good News. Humankind has been put in the midst of all this wonder of God.
Let’s take a glimpse of that wonder, of which God has put us as imago dei. Look at the largess of the Creation, see its wonder. You know, our Earth is between 24,000-25,000 miles in circumference. It’s big, yet one million earths could fit into its sun. Magnificent, is it not? Earth circles the sun and its orbit is approximately 584 million miles in circumference, with the earth is traveling approximately 66,616 miles mph as it circles the sun. (Fast, huh?!)
Our sun is a star. And there are approximately 300 billion of them (stars) in our galaxy and now they say there could be 2 trillion galaxies. Woaah!! Things are measured in space on grand scales too, such as in light years, which is the distance travelled by something moving at the speed of light over a year. Well, then, our universe is ninety three billion light-years across—if I have the measurements correct! Yet God in His creative, loving goodness spoke it all into being with a word. He spoke and all of that mentioned came to be out of nothing. Amazing. There is a something there, rather than a nothing. A deep wonder to ponder!
God created the pinnacle of creation—the final touch of the Genesis account—He made the human person, in His own image and likeness: “Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness. … God created mankind in his image; in the image of God He created them; male and female he created them.”
Think about all that God created, and then that He created you. You are the pinnacle of His creation…You…You (and I) have worth to God beyond what we realize! If you were in doubt of it, then the love of God in Christ Jesus is here. It will be part 3 of this Kerygma homily series. Yet next week, we go over part 2, captured into sin and death, or better perhaps entitled as crashed.
If humanity is started with the goodness status, then we can later understand why God would want to help us out of being captured into the fall or web or pit of sin. Kergyma starts with Created (1) then Captured (2) and then Rescued (3) then Response, which is put to us.
Stage 1 in Kerygma: We are Created in Goodness. That’s us in humanity. All of us are made in dignity. There’s no junk or mistakes made. All human persons have worth, respect, and their right to life. We are born to listen and obey and trust God, and live in His creation, and then be returned to experience the Heaven God has told us about, even if it has not been shown. We are not ready for that yet. One of the reasons is that we have human pride in the way. A pop singer sang irreverently about how they were born this way, as meaning to be in sin, as if God birthed her or others as to be in separation and opposition to God. No, it’s a wrong image of man and of God. That’s a fallen into sin, or captured in original sin, message.
We’ll look at that whole thing next time in the Kerygma series. But we part here in the first lesson celebrating that we can return to the Lord and then keep in the Lord Who loves us and created us in Goodness, with a plan and meaning for us.
↓ Added for web version and Becoming Catholic members ↓
But God lays clues all around to get at the something first good He has done. Like in the miracle of a seed that grows on the earth, He is the Maker of such. Not us, and we know it. HE is the God of Life and Love. We are not, but we want to be in union with Him.
Jesus spoke a few parables about seeds for us to understand the kingdom of God. For all of our knowledge and science found in human progress, we cannot create a living thing, not like God does or from which God has supplied—but not to be misused. God is Creator; we have a place as co-creator. Perhaps the most marvelous example of that is a couple’s ability to physically see a child into being. In that gift, it can put us in wonder or awe, or to be in touch with our original innocence. We are to consider that God in His goodness is life. God is life.
It can have us in Stage One of Kerygma of “Created.” It is where we ask questions such as “How is it there is something here, rather than nothing? What is life? Why am I here? Where am I going? Then, if to get an idea of to where I am heading, how do I get there?! God has the direction for that. He is the Love that will fill (or re-fill) His created man or woman or child. He is the high destiny of each and all.
Extended homily, continued…
The Creator of this massive universe, Who simply said, “Let there be light,” also said “Let there be John Barry ______(< insert your name). He chose to create you, He willed me into being, as well. I don’t just happen to be here; nor do you don’t just happen to be here. You’re here because in God’s mind, He thought you into becoming part of existence for His good pleasure and a little company! He spoke you, then, into being, in some place and time. It’s a loving thing that you exist!
Psalm 139 is a wondrous prayer of that happiness of being made by God and known. Use it in your return from this homily. It will be at the ending part.
It’s a loving thing that you and I exist. We are meant to live for God our Maker. Genesis 12 today has the man Abram hear God and obey Him to move on. We proclaimed the word; and it is to encourage our Lent to be on the move with God. When the story gets to Genesis 15, Abram—how a new man Abraham—celebrates where He is anew—which is where God had wanted him. God is pleased with Abraham, and asks him to “look up at the stars and believe in the I Am –of the God of all existence.” Perhaps you and I can look up this afternoon and night, up at the night sky. See the pairing of the planets Jupiter and Venus look like a pair of eyes in the conjuction in the western sky. See the moon chasing it later in the evening. By March 22nd, the moon will catch them just after sunset. when He gets to where God was leading Him: Look up at the stars Abraham, and believe I Am. Believe, too, man of faith, that more people of faith, many of them, will shine like the lights in the night sky. Because you did believe in The Loving Goodness: God.
Parts of Psalm 139
“O Lord, you have examined me and you know me. All my ways are open to you.
You enfold me from in front and from behind, and you place your hand upon me. Your knowledge is beyond my comprehension, far too sublime for me to attain…
You created my inmost being; ‘knit’ me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am wonderfully made; awesome are your works! My life was fashioned before it had come into being. How precious to me are your designs!
Examine me, O God, and know my heart; test me and understand my thoughts. See if I follow an evil way, and guide me on the way to eternity.
I just did on Friday a funeral Mass, burial and reception with a parish family. The deceased was a Downs Syndrome man who had over five decades of being greatly loved, cherished, respected and celebrated by his family and big community circle. On February 23rd God called Eddie Maguire home to Himself. On March 3rd we held the farewell Mass and reception—and it was so deeply a witness to me of people who saw Eddie as “imago dei” (image of God) and being so loved by God (regardless of the condition of his coming to earth). Their faith really blessed me. I also had a joy of seeing the look of Eddie, a Catholic man being cherished by these Maguire and Hassett folks and company, and see him be so happy for it. It’s my prayer, thus, that we all may come to realize what Eddie knew, of the love of God, as found in the Catholic faith all around and in him. Bless the Lord!!
We conclude this first part of the kerygma—Created— and we realize with wonder and awe that the God Who is infinitely good and powerful, beyond all telling, not only willed me and you into existence, but is right now, at this very moment, caring for us, saying out in proclamation: “You are my son, my daughter. Can you hear and follow My plan?” “Yes, Lord.”
Look at the Stars Abraham by Phil Keaggy.