Homily: 2nd Sunday Lent B. COVID-19 “Put to the test.”

Genesis 22:1-2, 9, 10-13, 15-18. Psalm 116. Rms. 8:31b-34. Mark 9:2-10

“God put Abraham to the test.”
Each of us will have our faith tested. It is not that God is testing us, rather it is that the circumstance of the fallen world of man, will test your faith.

In Jesus God submits God’s self to those same circumstances. For Abraham and for God what they love, what represents their future and what they dearly love, will be put on the altar of sacrifice. The human person made in the image and likeness of God, God’s beloved, God’s, friend, God’s hoped for presence in the universe in Jesus, is lynched from a manmade tree.

The consequences of our fallen humanity puts God’s faith in humanity to the test and the test will end in a bloody mess at the Place of the Skulls.

For Catholic Americans our faith is being put to the test. This test will go on for eight more years.

The test will reveal whether Jesus will declare solemnly “I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers (Matt.7:21-23) or “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundations of the world” (Matt. 25:34).

The circumstances of a fallen humanity -a humanity that prefers a dressed up lie to the right, and to the left of the naked truth, voting for the promises of Satan about fruit that looks good, tastes good and will make you like a god -knowing good and evil, will put our faith to the test(Gen.3: 4-6).

The circumstances of abortion and the indifference to the lynching by police of Black lives. The circumstances of sacramental marriage and liberal progressivism. The indifference of free markets to modern day Jim Crow sharecropping. Circumstances of sexual abuse of children by priests and its cover up. Circumstances of hundreds of thousand dead and dying in large part because so many of us want what we want , when we want it and act like we have the divine right of kings, submitting our will neither to man nor the God we say we serve.
These circumstances will lead enough of us to call for the release of Barabbas and the crucifixion of Jesus and the test will be failed.

But the psalmist sings: “I believed, even when I said, “I am greatly afflicted” (psalm 116).

The experience of exile is an affliction. You have been exiled from family members -grandparents and grandkids. You have been exiled from church and in church. You have been exiled from your face and the face of others. Some of you I have only ever seen with a mask. This too is a test of our faith it is an affliction.

But you believe and believing you have come here today. Here you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, calling upon the name of the Lord. To do this the Holy Spirit is strong with you: her strength, her fortitude, her knowledge, reverence, wisdom, and counsel are with you.

You have made the sacrifice of time and treasure to be here and here, we gather to offer our praise and thanksgiving which is our correct answer and our winning prize to this time of testing.

To help us to respond to this test, I invite you to reflect on and share your responses to, the self-examination tool printed in the bulletin. Your shared responses to the Lenten self- examination will help the parish staff, Pastoral Council, Missionary Disciples and Finance Council to plan and pastor our parish now, and for the future.

Let the servants of God in the banners around us (in Assumption church) and mentioned in the bulletin be an example of what I am seeking.

The colored women Henriette Delille and Mary Lange had a personal relationship both with God and the Catholic church in a time when enslavement was normal and black lives were lynched every month. That relationship – “if God is for us, who can be against us” (Rms: 8:31b)- helped to convert to a more authentic Christianity both the Catholic church and America, one person at a time.

May it be that at the conclusion of this eight-year test, Jesus might say: “Come, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world!” (Matt. 25:34).