2nd Sunday of Lent
28th February 2021
St. Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh
Homilist – Fr. Aquin Casey
One morning about 130 years ago in Sweden a successful businessman was enjoying a leisurely breakfast while at the same time reading the morning newspaper.
One headline in the paper grabbed his attention.
The headline read ”DYNAMITE KING DIES”.
As he continued to read the newspaper article, he realised to his horror that it was his own obituary he was reading.
One phrase written about him that really upset him was the phrase that described him “AS THE MERCHANT of DEATH”
The man I am talking about is ALFRED NOBEL the inventor of DYNAMITE.
Now his obituary was of course premature.
The newspaper had written about the wrong man.
However, this premature obituary had a dramatic effect on Nobel. He didn’t want to be known and remembered just for the destructive force of his invention.
So because of what he had read he had a conversion moment he had a TRANSFIGURATION MOMENT, he changed the direction his life was going in and he began to work tirelessly and to devote all his energies and resources in promoting works of justice and peace.
He began to work “for the building up” rather than “the tearing down of the human community”.
Because of his moment of TRANSFIGURATION, NOBEL today is not remembered “AS THE MERCHANT of DEATH” but as the founder and benefactor of THE NOBEL prizes for peace; medicine; science and literature.
TODAY if you were to be given a premature glimpse of what your obituary would say I wonder would you be happy or would you be upset and disappointed about what you would read?
Would people say that you were a person who would be remembered as a person who went about tearing down the communities you lived in or would they hopefully say the opposite, see you as a builder up of the communities in which you lived.
Were we to look at our lives like ALFRED NOBEL did, would we identify habits and traits that need changing?
We are again journeying through the SEASON of LENT.
LENT that special time of GRACE given to us each year as a time of CONVERSION; a time to CHANGE; a time of TRNASFIGURATION.
On Ash Wednesday we were given the mandate
“Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel”
Every now and again we would do well to do a sort of stock check on our lives and see how we are getting on in our living of the Gospel each day.
The question we might keep in mind is the question
“Are we faithful to our baptismal calling; the call of loving God and loving one another”
And if we are completely honest with ourselves in reflecting on and answering this question, we will find that there will be room for improvement, there will always be an extra step we can take to do better.
Lent is the time to have the courage and the willingness to make any changes that are necessary in our manner of living.
In other words, a life lived without being open to the possibility and the opportunity of growth and change is really not a life at all.
Lent allows us to let go of those things that lead to death and self-destruction. Those things that lead us away from God.
Lent is about dying to what is negative and self- so as to paradoxically LIVE.
Lent reminds us that Death and Good Friday are part of life.
Lent also reminds us that Easter couldn’t have happened without Good Friday.
Today’s Gospel, the Gospel of The Transfiguration, is given to us to lift our hearts it is given to us to give us HOPE, it is given to us to help us keep going especially when we find the going tough.
Life without Hope would be almost impossible and unimaginable.
I believe it is exactly 1 year to the day since the first case of Covid 19 was diagnosed in Ireland.
The past 12 months have indeed been very difficult. And indeed, maybe more difficult for some than it has been for others.
The past 12 months have brought sickness, death, anxiety, isolation, uncertainty.
But thanks be to God the past 12 months have also brought HOPE.
HOPE that “this too shall pass”
How wonderful it is this morning to hear the words we heard from St. Paul in our 2nd reading. The words…….
“With God on our side who can be against us”
This coming week let us continue on our journey of life with the confidence and the hope that this gives us and may we take further confidence and hope from the words of a Middle Ages mystic Mother Julian of Norwich. She wrote “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well”
Fr. Aquin Casey