BRIDGEPORT— When we take the journey of discipleship, we are offered the same choice as the apostles– to climb the mountain of faith through self-sacrifice and love, said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano in his online Mass for Second Sunday of Lent.
“At the heart of Christian discipleship is in fact, a dying to the self,” said the bishop, who added that climbing the mountain of faith challenges us to shed our comforts and to strip away all that we take for granted in order to seek Christ’ glory.
The journey calls us to strive toward selflessness in the way “we value others, treat others, serve others and care for others by willing their good first,” he said.
After reading Mark’s account of the Transfiguration (9:2-10), the bishop said the parable gives us a glimpse into the glory of God, but also the suffering and self-sacrifice required of us.
Bishop Caggiano began his homily from the Catholic Center chapel by describing a pilgrimage he took to the Holy Land in which his group traveled by air-conditioned coach to the Mountain of the Transfiguration.
When they arrived at the base, they were surprised as the bus driver turned into a plaza and they transferred to a smaller, uncomfortable bus necessary to navigate the narrow roads and steep hills to the basilica.
As they neared the top of the mountain, the bus stopped once again so that the pilgrims could complete the journey on foot, still a considerable walk. The bishop said he remembers his fellow travelers being “hot, tired and a bit annoyed” until they encountered the dazzling light and colorful beauty of the basilica.
At that point, he realized that his own ascent of the mountain and entry into the basilica offered a glimpse of what the apostles themselves had experienced.
“That arduous task up the mountain was almost for them a parable of their life following the Lord– He who walked every step with them.”
“It demands losing our comfort, it demands being singular in mission to reach the pinnacle where on this day on that mountain the Lord allowed them to glimpse their destiny in His power, in His glory and His majesty, and they were terrified in the true sense. They were overwhelmed with what was there, having had the perseverance to suffer up the mountain.”
The bishop said that in the early church when they looked at the miracle or the Transfiguration, the Fathers often talked about the journey up a second mountain.
“The second walk up was to Calvary, where they would not glimpse the glory, only the suffering.”
He said that climbing the first mountain and beholding God’s glory gave the apostles the courage to continue on the road to Jerusalem and to walk the second.
“Those who do that will discover two great truths. It’s not easy but the Lord is with us every step of the way. And at the end of the journey we will have glory. That which Christ has, He will give to us.”
He said that there may be many times in our lives when we fail to walk up the mountain because of sinful behavior, or we think we can’t afford the cost, the demands put on us, and the suffering it may entail.
The bishop said that if we do walk the mountain that leads to Calvary this Good Friday, we will discover what he and the other pilgrims discovered the day he visited the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, the site of Calvary.
“From its vantage point in the distance, one can see the empty tomb from which the glory of Christ will shine for all eternity. So we have a mountain to climb, are we willing to take the next step?” he asked.
Before giving the final blessing, the bishop invited all the faithful to prepare for the March 19 Mass of Consecration of the Diocese to St. Joseph by joining in the eight-night Novena to St. Joseph beginning March 10, 7 pm.
The Bishop’s Sunday Mass is released online every Sunday morning at 8 am and available for replay throughout the day. To view the Bishop’s Sunday Mass, recorded and published weekly, click this link or visit the YouTube Mass Playlist. You are invited to join Bishop Caggiano for the Sunday Family Rosary every Sunday at 7:30 pm visit: https://formationreimagined.org/sundayfamilyrosary/