19 March 2014

Sermon for Reminiscere Sunday

Delivered by Canon Raphael Ueda, ICRSS, at St. Francis de Sales Oratory:

Second Sunday of Lent, 2014-3-16

In today’s Gospel, Jesus, to confirm the faith of the Apostles who were shaken by the announcement of His passion, permitted some rays from His Blessed soul to shine forth for a brief instant on Tabor, when Peter, James and John saw Him transfigured.

His figure did shine as the sun and His garments became white as snow. The three were captured by it and yet Jesus had revealed to them only one ray of His Glory for no human creature has endured the complete vision.

Glory is the fruit of grace. Grace confers on our souls a new life and makes us share in the life of God Himself. And it will transform us until one day Glory will bring us to the beatific vision of God in Heaven. But while grace transfigures, sin on the other hand, darkens and disfigures whoever became its victim.

Sin is a word, an act, or even a desire contrary to the eternal Law. It is an offense against God in disobedience to this love. It wounds human nature and injures our relationships with God and our neighbors. One commits a mortal sin when there are three elements present, grave matter, full knowledge, and deliberate consent. This sin destroys charity in us, deprives us of sanctifying grace and, if unrepented, leads us to the eternal death of hell.

Probably we, who would like to be faithful to God and His commandments, will rarely commit a mortal sin but we should not neglect the gravity and consequence of venial sin.

Holy Scripture shows many examples of God’s displeasure for venial sin which He sometimes punishes severely even on earth. For her curiosity Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt.

For God is truth and no one can be admitted to His intimacy who does not strive as much as he can be sincere in his actions.

First of all we must seek to possess truth in the depth of our Heart. That we may know ourselves as we really are in the eyes of God, stripped of all pretense and artificiality.

To do this, we must accept, not only the truth which pleases us, but also those which are painful and wound our pride, showing our faults and evil tendencies.

If someone is sincere, he never closes his eyes to this truth, but values it even if it is humiliating, knowing that humiliation which shows the truth is worth more than illusion which flatters pride and keeps us in sin.

Sometimes God permits difficult circumstances which are especially hard and trying for the practice of virtue, that we may see the truth and know ourselves as we really are.

For when we face with unexpected situations, we experience movements of our Heart, until then unknown, surging up within us, so movement of anger, rebellion and selfishness from which perhaps we had had the illusion that we were free. In such cases instead of turning our gaze away, it is necessary to have the courage to recognize these faults and confess them humbly and frankly.

God is truth and Mercy. He knows everything of what is happening in our souls, our weakness and our sinfulness. And in His Mercy He knows also how to come to help us and cure us.

And this forgiveness of sin is done through the sacrament of Confession. We must receive the sacrament of Penance because our Lord Jesus Christ commanded it, when He said to the Apostles and to their successors in the priesthood. “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them, and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.”

Today’s Gospel brings out the close connection between the transfiguration and the passion of Jesus. Jesus wished to teach His disciples in this way that it was impossible for Him as well as for others- to reach the glory of the Transfiguration without passing through suffering.

It was the same lesson that He would give later to the two disciples at Emmaus. “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and so to enter into His Glory?” What has been disfigured by sin cannot regain its original supernatural beauty except by way of suffering which purifies and by way of the sacrament of confession.

God is Father, always in vigilant and loving expectation of seeing the desire to return home be born in His child. And when He sees that desire, even if it is slightly aroused, He is there waiting for our return. If we have a burden in our conscience, if we are ashamed of the things that we have done, stop for a moment, and do not be afraid of asking Our Father forgiveness. Let us welcome Him with joy. He can change us, He can transform our heart of stone into a fresh heart. He can free us from egoism and make our life a gift of love.

St. Irenaeus, bishop and martyr of the third century, said “The glory of God is man fully alive; moreover man’s life is the vision of God.”

Let us ask to God the grace so that God, in Christ, might be all in all for His Glory and for our happiness.


1 comment:

A Seminarian's Mom said...

Thank you for posting sermons to your site.
My gratitude also to
Canon Ueda for his wisdom.