Second Sunday of Lent (A)

Beyond doubt we live in strange times with lots of tragedies and accidents and many people dying young. This is evidenced by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan last week. During times like this we need more than ever to remember that our lives here on earth are a pilgrimage to God[1].

On the mountain Peter, James and John saw that there was more to Jesus than met the eye. During the transfiguration they got a glimpse of the future glory of Jesus’ resurrection. Like them we too get glimpses of the presence of God in our lives. We get glimpses of God in the love we receive from our family. As a priest I get glimpses of God in the understanding and support of my parishioners. We get glimpses of God when help suddenly comes to us from out of nowhere. We get glimpses of God when we look back over our lives and the past makes sense now. We see glimpses of God when we see someone making a sacrifice to help somebody else. We see glimpses of God in a beautiful sunrise or sunset. We see glimpses of God when a passage from the Bible or a homily strikes a chord in our hearts. We get a glimpse of God when we spend time in prayer and experience the loving presence of God in our lives. We get more than just a glimpse of God when we receive the Holy Communion. The Transfiguration encourages us to continue our Lenten penances because it reminds us of the glory of Jesus rose from the dead.

When Jesus and the disciples came down the mountain Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone about it. Unknown to them the glory of Jesus’ transfiguration was preparing them to accept the scandal of the cross. They would understand this only afterwards when looking back. The good times take us through the bad times. So when our cross is heavy or when we are tempted to despair about the meaning of life, let us look beyond the pain of the present moment and remember those times when we got glimpses of God, those times when God sent us his consolations. My brother, my sister, let us look beyond the pain of life and see the presence of God in our world, and the offer of life that God wants to make to each of us. Let us look beyond the illusion of happiness that this life offers to the real happiness that God offers us. In fewer words: let us look beyond this world to eternal life with God.

In our first reading we heard Abram being called by God to leave his present place and go to a new country[2]. It was a long time for him to be continually looking beyond the present to the promise of God.

With faith we can see what we cannot see with our eyes. On the mountain Peter, James and John looked beyond the appearance of Jesus and saw his future risen glory. Let us look beyond, and see that God is really with us. God has not left us on our own, God is with us.

This is my Beloved Son, Listen to Him! The voice of God the Father, was not speaking to Jesus, it was not speaking to Moses, who had come to discuss the Word of God. It was not speaking to Elijah No, This is my Beloved Son, Listen to Him, was directed to Peter, James and John, the apostles, so the voice is directed to each one of us.

In the gospel of the Temptations last week, we were mindful of the full humanity of Jesus. In the gospel of the Transfiguration today, we are reminded of his divinity and our promised eternal destiny when we respond to Jesus and his divine laws. Last week reminds us that our happiness doesn't mean we can avoid the suffering and death associated with this life.

The Church teaches us that in both the Transfiguration and the Gethsemane experiences it is clear that the events are pointing to the Cross ahead, the way of suffering[3]. Is it possible that we miss mountaintop experiences because we are not open to accepting the way of the cross that might be in our present or future? Let us pray that we all have the courage to say to our Father in heaven, Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will. Amen ■

[1] Sunday 20th March, 2011, 2nd Sunday of Lent. Readings: Genesis 12:1-4. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you—Ps 32(33):4-5, 18-20, 22. 2 Timothy 1:8-10. Matthew 17:1-9.
[2] Cf Gen 12:1-4
[3] Cfr Catechism of the Catholic Church n. 555

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris