2nd Sunday of Lent Year C
February 21, 2016


One of the many things I enjoyed in outdoor campings and climbs atop mountain peaks was stargazing during dark cloudless nights. I spent hours looking up at the sky, and gazing on the stars.

You see, for one, looking up at the sky is free. Second, everyone waxes poetic just gazing on stars. And should the muse of poetry not be present, there at least was the excitement waiting for occasional falling stars.

But I am not going to dwell on stars rising and stars falling tonight. I choose to dwell on what those stars represent, from whence they come – the heavenly firmament, which classic imagination would take to refer to God.

Yes … God … the same God who called Abram and told him to “look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can” …

Yes … God … the same God who has made it possible for us to be enlisted for “citizenship in heaven, from where we await a Savior.” ….

Yes … God … the same God who manifested and revealed His glory historically in Christ, if only for a few fleeting moments, in the presence of Peter, James and John. ….

And He did it by calling them up a high mountain. He did it by making them look up at the shining splendor of Christ’s transfigured being.

He still does it today, in our times. When I was younger, climbing heights and spending overnights outdoors and doing the stargazing thing was not difficult. When you are young and idealistic, the world is nothing but an oyster. Everything is hopeful; every problem solvable, and all challenges surmountable.

But then the moment of truth comes … not all peaks are reachable and not all stars are visible all the time. Storms and hurricanes and man-made pollution and destruction of the earth’s natural resources bring with it not only smoggy days and  smoke-clogged nights as to render it impossible to see stars and everything else that stars stand for.

There comes a time in one’s life when you realize that God may have really put off all the lights and turned off the mains of earthly happiness and earthly fulfillment. Problems do come by us and as the old song goes, “into everyone’s life some rain does fall.” Yes … and this by far is the most horrible darkness one can ever experience … bad things do happen to good people.

Bad news, you say? No, not if you ignore the good news hiding behind it!

And the good news is this … Just when you think God has put off the lights and turned off all the mains of the sources of your external joys, in days like this, you realize that God is a STAR that never wanes nor dies, and a light that never fades.

You realize at some deep inner portion of your believing heart that “The Lord is my light and my salvation.”

Peter, James and John was set up for a big revelation, like we are set up for a big realization … But even they, who were given a glimpse of heaven they could only look up longingly to, were also given a reality check and a wake-up call … “A cloud came and cast a shadow over them.”

Seeing God’s glory face to face was not a guarantee that things would get better and better all the time. Into everyone’s sunshine, some cloud must come; and into everyone’s life some rain must fall.

But that my dear friend, is not the end of  the story. Problems, trials and tribulations don’t make up life as God wills and willed it. The final chapter of our human and finite existence … the final course of the world as God willed it is what we all could only longingly look up at the sky for – in faith, in hope and in trust and in love of the God of promises and the God of fulfillment …

This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.

And looking up at the stars – and listening to His promises – do not lead to darkness, but to the light. “The Lord is my light and my salvation!” LOOK UP AND SEE.