On Tuesday, February 6, 2018, science and technology,
took a huge step forward.
Do you remember what happened that day…it was only 19 days ago?
….The Falcon Heavy was successfully launched
from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The largest rocket ever made,
capable of carrying an enormous amount of weight into outer space,
set the stage for a possible mission to put human beings on Mars.
Even though this is a monumental achievement in space exploration,
it also involved some human playfulness.
The payload for the Falcon Heavy’s maiden voyage included a red roadster,
a Telsa electric car with a mannequin dressed in a SpaceX spacesuit
sitting at the steering wheel.
And it’s not coming back to Earth.
They say it will orbit the sun for millions of years.
It’s another great accomplishment within the realm of human ingenuity:
pushing the envelope,
extending the reach of the human race
into the unknown stretches of space.
As Christians, followers of Jesus,
we need to be careful of using such success
as the measure of human progress.
Scientific achievements for the most part are good,
they are beneficial to society in many ways.
For the Christian, however,
human progress, our personal progress,
is not measured scientifically.
It is measured spiritually.
From the Christian perspective,
the greatest human achievements are spiritual ones.
Human progress is measured by love, and knowledge and wisdom and virtue.
It is measured by self-discipline,
sacrifice, respect and compassion.
As human beings
we rise to a higher level of existing,
we achieve a better life
when people learn to live together in peace;
when the poor receive the care that they need;
when the hungry are fed;
when the lonely find comfort;
when de-humanizing realities like slavery and sexual exploitation
are confronted and overcome.
the quality of human life is measured by freedom and justice, by integrity.
The greatest obstacles human beings have to face,
that need to be overcome,
are spiritual obstacles:
sin, ignorance, error, misunderstanding, selfishness, cruelty.
The greatest human achievements
occur in our “inner” space not in “outer” space.
They occur in our hearts, our minds, our souls.
The realm of important discovery
isn’t the far reaches of space
or the depths of the oceans:
it’s plummeting the depths of the human heart,
the depths of the human spirit.
To be able to forgive the unforgivable;
to be able to love the unlovable;
to be willing and able to touch the untouchable;
to be willing to accept the rejected and those deemed worthless;
to have the courage to die for love and goodness and truth….
these are great human achievements
and they set the stage for a better future, a more stable society.
We are making great strides in human progress
when we are willing and able to die to ourselves:
to our wants,
for the sake of unity and peace,
for the sake of building up trust,
for the sake of the common good.
On a day about 2000 years ago,
a day whose exact date has been forgotten,
human salvation took a huge step forward.
Jesus Christ was transfigured in the sight of some of his disciples.
His heavenly glory was revealed.
His identity as the Son of God was verified and affirmed.
It was God who was footing the bill for this unbelievable advancement.
The stage was now set for the plan of God to come to its fulfillment.
The disciples were given a glimpse of the future that awaited not only Jesus
but also awaited those who put their faith in him, commit their lives to him.
There was, however, work to be done, progress to be made,
before such glory was possible….
difficult, challenging, sacrificial work.
Jesus had to complete his journey to Jerusalem, undergo his passion,
die on the cross and be raised from the dead.
During the Season of Lent, as the Lord pleads with us and says “Return to me”
he is saying “Return to the vision. Return to the dream.
Return to the memory of the Transfiguration. Return to the mountain.
Return to the promise of sharing in the glory of Jesus Christ….
It is hard to keep our eyes focused on the goal, on the final destination.
And we wonder if our Lenten discipline.
makes a difference regarding anything.
What purpose does it serve?
For many of us heaven seems so far away….
just as to the scientific world and the space program,
putting a human being on the planet mars seems so far away.
Our hope lies in what is eternal,
not what is material and temporary.
Lent is about the work that needs to get done
in order to further the “inner” space achievements
that will make for a better future,
make for a more stable society,
make for a more peaceful heart,
so as to contribute to a most glorious ending.
We are reminded today: our Lenten sacrifice will lead us to true happiness in God.
Our world is only going to change when human hearts change,
when our hearts change…
from less loving to more loving,
from less forgiving to more forgiving,
from stingy to generous,
from indifferent to concerned,
from greedy to charitable,
from getting what we want to wanting what we already have.
God has done the work to make such change possible.
We need only listen to Jesus Christ….
and keep our eyes on the glory that awaits us.
Our prayer today: “O Lord, may Your Son Jesus Christ become and remain the center of our lives. Help us to listen to his voice. Awaken us to the blessing of the eternal happiness he promises. Amen!”
2nd Sunday of Lent
On Tuesday, February 6, 2018, science and technology,