Summary: Transfiguration of Jesus and us
Second Sunday of Lent
Jesus' transfiguration and the believer's transformation
Flannery O'Connor asks a probing question, "Have you ever looked inside yourself and seen what you are not?" What we are not, but should be, is the question. It’s the sometimes frustrating denying or neglecting who God is calling us to be but some sin or issue keeps holding us back.
Romans 3:23, sin is falling short of the glory of God.
The transfiguration of Jesus speak of our transfiguring of pain, of knowledge, and of the world.
The motif of celestial journey. In a general way, one may say that the ascent of Jesus and the disciples to high mountain has as its goal an encounter with the divine. Through prayer.
Three tents: the disciples wish the state of happiness they are experiencing due to the glorious vision to continue. But the vision is transient. Peter cannot continue making his proposal because he is effectively interrupted by a cosmic phenomenon, a bright cloud and one voice speaking about Jesus. The vision led to hearing, and they see only Jesus. The voice says, “Listen to him.” Our Open Prayer says, “O God, who have commanded us to listen to your beloved Son.”
e.g. Al-anon says that “One of our slogans is a single word: THINK. How can I do that if all I do is talk? I can benefit from the Steps and the slogans only if I think about them. I can learn from others only if learn to keep silent and think about what I am hearing. The compulsive talkers among us are those who get the least help from the program and make the least progress.”
The disciples hear that the one who had announced a bitter defeats is not vanquished by rather receives the highest honors of heaven.
After death we too will be metamorphosed from being the caterpillars of our earthly existence into being the butterflies of our heavenly existence.
e.g. When Bishop Warren Chandler of the Episcopal Church was dying he was talking to an old friend who sat with him at his bedside and his friend asked, “Do you have any fears of crossing over the river of death?” The old bishop smiled and said with conviction, “My Father owns the land on both sides of the river. Why should I be afraid to cross?
2). The fruit of prayer is action and mission.
Pope Benedict XVI said that “when one has the grace to sense a strong experience of God, it is as though seeing something similar to what the disciples experienced during the Transfiguration. For a moment they experienced ahead of time something that will constitute the happiness of paradise. In general, it is brief experiences that God grants on occasions, especially” to endure hardships.
Our Second Reading today says, "Bear you share of the hardship of the gospel with the strength that comes from God." Notice the theme of empowerment.
Even the highest moments of mystical union are meant to empower one to do God's work (which is why Peter did not know what he was saying about building three tents). The point of prayer is not to stay on the mountain. It’s about service.
e.g. There is the story of a lady who went to a prayer group where everyone was sitting in silence. "When does the service begin?" she asked a man sitting near her. His answer: "As soon as the meeting is over."
Jesus blesses our service. In our First Reading, Abram hears the divine commission to leave his kinfolk and go where the Lord shows him. In the very short First Reading, the word blessing appears 5 times. The Lord will bless him, and in turn, he will be a blessing to all the communities on the earth.
Jesus is gloried every time we worship in Mass, in prayer, in service. Help us to be transfigured each and every day into the person you want us to be.