You Have To Look Where You’re Going

clear road ahead

2nd Sunday of Lent

Deacon Tom Vert

Preached: February 25, 2024

You have to look where you are going!

How many people here have taught their children, grandchildren, or others how to drive a car?

One of the first lessons to learn is that you need to look where you are going! If you look straight ahead far down the road, you will drive straight ahead. If you start to look towards the left or right, or at a truck, you will naturally drift that way, subconsciously you can’t help it. This puts you and the car in danger.

Looking where you are going is one of the keys to driving safely.

In the spiritual life, looking where you are going is also critical to staying on the spiritual path, and in my opinion, one of the key reasons for the transfiguration. Jesus knew that his time was coming to an end, he was nearing Jerusalem, and his passion and death were coming close. But also, his resurrection would be coming, and he needed Peter, James, and John, to focus on that truth, focus on that vision of what would happen in order  to help get them through the challenges after the crucifixion.

This experience of seeing Jesus’ figure transformed with dazzling white bright energy and the voice of God coming down to say “this is my beloved Son, listen to him”, were key moments that they could anchor on to in their absolute grief after his death.

This moment enhanced their faith even more, just like the moment we saw for Abraham in the first reading. We see Abraham passes this test of faith of offering up his son Isaac, because he already had a close relationship with God who had proven time and again how much he loved Abraham.

Abraham had the history of God supporting him as he moved out of his homeland in Babylon to Israel. He had the focus of the three angels visiting him in the tent and the gift of God of his son Isaac, born to Sarah in her very old age. This knowledge in his heart, this focus, of a loving, caring God allowed him to go through this test, this struggle, with faith in his heart and get even closer to God.

This close relationship, this vision of where we are going is emphasized by St. Paul also in the second reading. He tells the Romans (and us), If God is for us, who can be against us?

In other words, if God is at the centre of our lives, and we have this focus that he has promised us his presence now and in eternal life, then how can we let the distractions of everyday live, the stresses make us look to the side and go off of  the spiritual path?

In the verses immediately after today’s readings, Paul makes it crystal clear to all of us when he says: “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, or things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”.

This love of Christ, that shines forth so bright that we can’t even look at it is available to us each and every day. It is not something that only happened 2000 years ago, but it is offered to us here and now.

I love how our new church has this symbolically for us to see! Look at the rays that shine forth around Jesus, in a way, transforming the image to show God’s love shining towards us. It is a great reminder of the transfiguration and this symbol of God showing us the way!

God we are told, did not spare his only Son, as he desires to be in a loving relationship with us! His arms are open for us to enter and be close to him!

So how do we put this knowledge to use in our daily spiritual life?

When the storms of life come, the diagnosis of cancer, the loss of a loved one, the failed relationship, or the job stresses, then come to this church during the day, before or after mass, whenever you need to and look directly at our crucified Jesus with the light surrounding him, and say to yourself “You have to look where you are going!”

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