The 2nd Sunday of Lent- The Homily
Reginald Horace Fuller (March 24, 1915 – April 4, 2007) was an Anglo-American Biblical scholar, ecumenist and Anglican priest. His works are especially recognized for their analysis of Christ in the New Testament (or “Christology”) He asks the following related to today’s readings: “Today, can we really be conceived of a God who actually acts in history? Can the intersection of human cause and effect be broken into by God? Part of the answer is suggested by the First Reading of Genesis. God acts by calling key individuals like Abraham. These human responses become a channel of grace whereby God’s will is carved out in the world. Thus history can thus be understood as (1) the call of God, (2) a response to that call (3) that goes out to a series of key persons, (4) beginning with Abraham and culminating with Jesus Christ and his apostles and (5) becoming a blessing to all the nations of the world. Thus God “connects” to the world and world history by facilitating “connections” between other people.
Henry Cloud is American Christian, president of Cloud-Townsend Resources, runs a self help private practice and the author of the 5-part series, Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life. He proposes a “4 Corners” idea of connections and relationships and how this offers a “map” towards a life that is thriving. (A copy of a video featuring his idea can be seen here from 0:56 – 4:40 minutes)
- Corner one is No Connection. That’s where you might have people around them, but you’re really not connecting. Everybody’s kind of on their own. People feel alone and isolated
- The second corner is a Bad Connection. Here we have some kind of a one-one-one relationship or even a relationship in a team dynamic or in a culture. But the relationship or relationships make us feel bad or not good enough, like we can’t measure up. This really starts to wear away at performance. We can’t live here long.
- So we go to corner three – the Fake or Pseudo-Good Connection. We go in this corner to try to feel good, buts it’s an unhealthy feel-good. It’s self-medication, addiction, unhealthy relationships. It’s really not a place where real growth is happening. That kind of healthy connection only happens in corner four.
- Corner four is about Real Connection (with Real People). It’s the place where we’re fueled. It’s the place where you experience transformational moments. You walked in discouraged; you leave with courage. You walk in hopeless; you leave with hope. You walk in confused; you leave having gained some clarity.
However, “Corner Four” has requirements. It requires some vulnerability. You have to say, “I don’t have it completely together.” You have to know that you need something. You need to name what it is you need. You need to ask for what it is you need from someone who can provide it.
This is called redemption. This is what leads to your own “Mountain of Transfiguration.”
The Vatican II document “The Church In the Modern World” says:
In the face of the modern development of the world, the number of people who raise the most basic questions is increasing: What is man? What is this sense of sorrow, of evil, of death, which continues to exist despite so much progress? What purpose have these victories purchased at so high a cost? What can man offer to society, what can he expect from it? What follows this earthly life?
The Church firmly believes that Christ, who died and was raised up for all, can through His Spirit offer man the light and the strength to measure up to his supreme destiny. Nor has any other name under the heaven been given to man by which it is fitting for him to be saved. She likewise holds that in her Lord can be found the key, the focal point and the goal of man, as well as of all human history. (Gaudium et Spes, #9 – 10)
Professor of Philosophy at St. Louis University, Father John Kavanaugh, S.J. makes a final point:
You never “arrive.” This has to be done at different “seasons” of your life. Abraham was seventy-five. And for Abraham, 75 was just the beginning. There was yet another call: “Go forth to a place you’ve never been before. I will show you. You’ll know the place when you get there. I will bless you – you will bless others.”
Father Kavanaugh mentioned some examples that he had seen in his lifetime:
- A woman who thinks she has had enough of her professional work discovers a new marvelous power to love and heal.
- A man at sixty, dreaming of something new, starts a food distribution program in a poor Central American country.
- A priest at sixty-five taps into vast depths of courage and possibility within himself he had never imagined.
- A sister at fifty founds a new order.
- A ninety-two-year-old nun goes more deeply into love, forgiveness, and trust than any novice could dare explore.
- A couple married fifty years thanks Marriage Encounter for helping them finally understand each other.
There is always more. There is always a further call as long as we tread this earthly road.
Audio version of the Homily is here: