This Sunday marked my first Sunday at my new assignment as Permanent Deacon at St. John the Baptist Church in Healdsburg California. Here is a cyber-version of my homily:

As we worship and serve our Lord with you here at St. John’s we will come to know each other much better. We are grateful and excited at this privilege and opportunity. These simple realities of our human relationships help us to understand the lesson we have this Second Sunday of Lent from God’s Word.

Lent…many see this just as a season of the Church year in which we fast, abstain or perhaps share in extra works of prayer and charity. And that is what Lent is. But while it is a season it is even more so a season in which the Spirit of God seeks to renew our hearts and lives in these acts of ongrowing conversion and grace, throughout all seasons and days of our lives. Lent is a special time to renew our relationship with God. It is a time to know in new and deeper ways, to awaken to Christ in our hearts, homes and Church. Our Bible readings this day help us to understand that this “knowing” comes about as we…

LISTEN to God…with our ears, mind and heart as Abram did on the journey of faith God led him upon. We are invited to be LISTENING & LOOKING upward to Christ and His dream for each of us as individuals and as His Family, the Church. We are called to listen to God with and through His saints. The Mount of Transfiguration is a profound lesson of the Communion of the Saints, in Heaven with God and with each other here on earth. Hearing….heeding the promises of God the Holy Spirit will arouse within our hearts to dream with God and from there to follow to the fulfillment of those plans and promises.

FOLLOWING God we discover that the promises, the plans, the dreams God has for us are the very beginnings of a life of faith and fulfillment, of love and grace. But it is also a path of dedication, at times struggle and suffering. It is a path up the mount of transfiguration. It is the path of Christ’s Cross that may allow the struggles and sorrows we encounter to bring upon us anew His mercy, His strength, His Love as we enter more deeply into the embrace of the Crucified.

This journey then of Listening.. of Following and then KNOWING Christ, is the path of discovering, anew the glory and beauty of Christ crucified and risen. As we allow God to lead us up the mountains of our life we may well face exhaustion, and even fear. But it is in those times and places we discover, we experience His love that brings His courage. It is His holy love that awakens us to see, hear and know anew Christ and hence to know and become that person and the people God has created, called and redeemed us to be.

May we, together, get to know more of each other as together we learn more of God in our work and worship, shared in His Church. And together may we grow on to know the treasure of Christ in His Word, the Holy Eucharist and in the works and worship of His Kingdom.