|Posted on June 20, 2019 at 2:55 PM|
2nd Sunday of Lent C
Transfiguration: Reassurances of Faith
Fr. Joselito C. Ramos, AM
A missionary told this story. Some African Christians were sitting about at a retreat. The subject was: what’s the best way to spread the Gospel message. Various methods were suggested running from literature to videos to radio announcements. Finally a young woman arose. She said, “When we judge a pagan village is ready for the Lord Jesus, the first people we send in is a Christian family. It is their lives that will inspire the villagers to think seriously about becoming Christian. They are better than a hundred books or videos or radio announcements. They will be the keyhole through which others will see the Lord Christ. To spread the Church Christians must not so much promote as attract.” The woman’s views carried the day. As Albert Schweitzer, who was a superb keyhole in his own life, testified, “Example is not the main thing. It is the only thing.”
The gospel passage today from St. Luke talks about the Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus. Peter, James, and John had been following this man, Jesus, for a while, had been listening to his stories and his wise words, and had witnessed some pretty unexplainable things. And yet, they probably still wondered if they were on the right path, if continuing to follow this Jesus was still the right thing to do and the faithful thing to do and they needed a little reassurance. If they were wavering with their faith at all before that day, the experience of the transfigured Jesus helped strengthen their commitment. They got the sign they needed. When they left the mountain that day their lives were changed forever.
We all need reassurances. Kids need hug and kiss after they have been scolded. Employees need to be told by their bosses that they are doing a good job and valued. Students need some positive comments on their papers and not just a bunch of stuff crossed out in red ink. People need to hear the words, “I forgive you,” so that they don’t have to wonder if they are forgiven or not. Men and women on the margins need to be heard and embraced and cared for, not treated as being invisible. And many couples feel compelled to renew their vows, feel the need to simply re-say the words and recommit to each other.
What these things have to do with Lent? Well, the reason the Church has different seasons throughout the year, the reason we revisit the same stories and participate in the same devotions over and over again is because, like Abram and Peter and James and John and countless others --- we need that reminder and reassurance; we need to feel that we are on the right path and to refocus from time to time on what is most important, and where we are headed. We need signs along the way. Our Lenten journey, our Lenten practices and devotions help us to do that. They help to open our hearts and minds to a profound a truth. St. Paul beautifully stated in our Second Reading from his Letter to the Philippians that, “But our citizenship is in heaven.” That’s where we belong. That’s our home. That’s why we were created - to dwell with God forever.
My friends, let’s do Lent well. Let’s allow this holy season to speak to us, to be a kind sign to us - allowing the journey of these forty days to reassure us that we are on the right path, that our lives have meaning and purpose and that we have a destination beyond our wildest imagination, a place prepared for us by our God who loves us more than we can imagine.
And when these forty days are over and wake up that Easter morning, may we come down the mountain changed, not simply for a day, but forever - just as Peter, James, and John were - ready to say whatever God wants us to say, to do whatever He asks us to do, and to go wherever He invites us to go.