Fr. Ruben’s Homily for Sunday, March 17, 2019

Second Sunday of Lent
Lectionary: 27

Reading 1: Gn. 15:5-12, 17-18

Responsorial Psalm: Ps. 27:1, 7-8, 8-9, 13-14.

Reading 2: Phil. 3:17—4:1

Verse before the Gospel: Mt. 17:5

Gospel: Lk. 9:28B-36

In today’s Gospel we hear about the Transfiguration of Jesus. This is very important for us at this time of Lent. That is our goal, to be able to reach a personal transfiguration. While Saint Paul warns us of human behaviors that have no transcendence, these human behaviors are based on the earthly, passionate, carnal things.

Saint Augustine though about two different cities, “The city of God and the city of man” On the way to the city of God we must be transfigured little by little into the image of Christ. On the way of the city of man, the human being finds his own deformation. Let’s analyze these two citiesfrom the theology of St. Augustine.

Who constitute the city of man according to St. Paul? Those who, “Their God is their stomach; their glory is in their shame and their minds are occupied with earthly things.” St. Augustine tells us that there are two kinds of societies, two kinds of love; the first society and love is the one that constitutes the city of man and it is based in “Self-love and the detestation of God.”

The worldly person is one who does not act, does not feel or speak according to the Law or teachings of God. Since his way of living is united only to material things leaving aside the spiritual life. Saint Paul’s teachings to the Philippians states that the person who lives in the flesh, where sin and death reign, has the mind dominated by desires that are not of God, are not subject to the law of God and are under sentence of God.

Thus, humans, by our disordered and corrupt self-love, we have built the city of man, which has led to terrible wars, acts of violence, terrorism, economic crises, tragedies, culture of death and so on. And the cause of all this is, as St. Augustine notes, the hatred of God, who is the source of all goodness. That is to say, as soon as a person or a society moves further away from God, the more they fall into evil.

Anyone, therefore, who wants to be just a friend of the world, becomes an enemy of God (St.4: 4). Having worldly friends, watching worldly movies, doing wordly thing, etc. The desires of the world will soon pass away, and those who have been allies of the world in this life will past away with it, (1 Jn. 2:15-17). The world [that is, the society] of the wicked, will be destroyed at the second coming of Jesus Christ, (2 Pet. 2:5), We need to understand that the whole world is under the influence fo the evil one (1 Jn. 5:19). Let us avoid that destruction, we should not be “of the world” (Jn 17:16). The scripture tells us that God came to his people, that he inhabited the city of men but they did not recognize him, preferring darkness to light (Jn. 1: 11-12). Let’s live in the world knowing that our final destination is God, but we have to allow God to transfigure us one step at a time.

Who constitute the city of God according to San Agustin?

The ones who grow in the love of God reaching the point of self-denial in this world, those are the ones who walk towards the holy city, the city of God. It is a continuous transfiguration in the Lord Jesus Christ. The origin and the end of the City of God is the Holy Trinity. So, that the members who have attained eternal happiness participate in the eternity of God the founder of the city. By the truth of God we all become wise and by his grace we become saints. The City of God is conformed by the blessed ones and by the men and women that are in pilgrimage towardsparadise taking the way of the Cross.

To reach the city of God it is necessary to take up our own cross. And this means, for love of God and neighbor, to accept all the problems and difficulties that each one of us encounters: failures, humiliations, obstacles and illnesses. But at the end, like Jesus Christ, all his followers will be resurrected, and we will all enjoy the possession of God and all endless good.

The Gospels tell us that in all his earthly life, Jesus Christ never sought his own glory; whenever people wanted to proclaim him king, he avoided them he knew that his throne was the Cross. In that Cross-he accepted with humility, obedience and patience terrible suffering, ridicule and humiliation.

The people, after asking for the release of a terrorist and murderer (Barabbas) instead of Jesus, cried out for the crucifixion of Jesus. And what is worse is that some of the people who asked for his crucifixion had been cured by him, or had been fed in the multiplication of the fish and the loaves.

The City of God is about a community, a holy society united by charity where God is the founder of the city. Abraham asks the Lord in the first reading, “How am I to know that I shall possess it” God told him to make sacrifices. In our case the ultimate sacrifice has been done for our sake. All we need to do is to follow the teachings and actions of the Lamb of God who takes away the only things that prevents us from entering that eternal and holy city.