Dear Friends in Jesus Christ…,
Today we see in the gospel the Transfiguration of Jesus. We have a beautiful window in the church, which tells the story of the Transfiguration. Please take a look at it. It’s located above the statue of St. Joseph. Jesus, as the fulfillment of the law and prophets is transfigured with the presence of Moses and Elijah. He gives us a vision of his heavenly glory. The primary purpose of Jesus’ Transfiguration was to allow him to consult his Heavenly Father and ascertain His plan for His Son’s suffering, death and Resurrection. God’s secondary aim was to make Jesus’ chosen disciples aware of Jesus’ Divine Glory, so that they might discard their worldly ambitions and dreams of a conquering political Messiah and might be strengthened in their time of trial. On the mountain, Jesus is identified by the Heavenly Voice as the Son of God. Thus, the Transfiguration narrative is an Epiphany, that is, a manifestation or revelation of who Jesus really is. Describing Jesus’ Transfiguration, the Gospel gives us a glimpse of the Heavenly glory awaiting those who do God’s will by putting their trusting Faith in Him. Jesus’ transfiguration also strengthens us in the face of our afflictions. The “transfiguration” in the Holy Mass is the source of our strength: in each Holy Mass the bread and wine we offer on the altar are changed into the crucified and risen, living Body and Blood of Jesus by transubstantiation. Just as Jesus’ transfiguration strengthened the apostles in their time of trial, each holy Mass should be our source of Heavenly strength against temptations, and our renewal during Lent. In addition, our Holy Communion with the living Jesus should be the source of our daily “transfiguration,” transforming our minds and hearts so that we may do more good by humble and selfless service to others. Many a time we fail to gain the strength we need because we don’t see what we should see. There is a mysterious story in 2 Kings that can help us understand what is happening in the Transfiguration. Israel is at war with Aram. Elisha, the man of God, is using his prophetic powers to reveal the strategic plans of the Aramean army to the Israelites. At first the King of Aram thinks that one of his officers is playing the spy, but when he learns the truth, he dispatches troops to go and capture Elisha who is residing in Dothan. The Aramean troops move in under cover of darkness and surround the city. In the morning Elisha’s servant is the first to discover that they are surrounded and fears for his master’s safety. He runs to Elisha and says, “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” The prophet answers “Don’t be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” But that is hard to believe when the surrounding mountainside is covered with advancing enemy troops? So Elisha prays, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the Lord opens the servant’s eyes, and he looks and sees the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha (2 Kings 6:8-23). This vision was all that Elisha’s disciple needed to reassure him. At the end of the story, not only was the prophet of God safe but the invading army was totally humiliated. The mystery of the Transfiguration is a message of encouragement and hope: In moments of doubt and during our dark moments of despair and hopelessness, the thought of our future transformation in Heaven will help us to reach out to God and to listen to His consoling words: “This is my beloved son.” Let us offer our Lenten sacrifices to our Lord so that, through these practices of Lent and through the acceptance of our daily crosses, we may grow closer to him in his suffering, may share in the carrying of his cross and finally may share the glory of his second “transfiguration,” namely, his Resurrection. We need transformation in our Christian lives so that we may seek reconciliation instead of revenge; love our enemies; pray for those who hate us; give to the needy without expecting a reward; refuse to judge others, and make friends with those we don’t naturally like.
God Bless You,