Lent II-Transfiguration of Jesus: Gen 15:5-12, 17-18; Phil 3:17-4:1; Luke 9:28-36.
Last Sunday we had the reading: temptation of Jesus and the last temptation was Satan tempting Jesus to jump of the pinnacle of the temple and show his splendor as God’s son. Well, Jesus refused to prove that to Satan. But he did it before his chosen band of disciples on
In the First Reading, God seals his promise of salvation by making a covenant with Abram. At God's prompting, Abram moved his considerable holdings from the ancient city of
in Mesopotamia to a land he knew not. As a
reward for Abram’s trust and obedience, God promised him numerous descendants.
He also promised Abram a land for himself and his family. When Abram asked for
a sign that would seal this promise, God entered into a unilateral contract
with him, using an ancient ritual of contract. The parties who wanted to
seal a contract would split the carcass of one or more animals, lay the halves
on the ground, and walk between them, saying "May I be so split in half if
I fail to keep the agreement we are sealing here." Abram fell into a
trance and witnessed the procession of the fire pot and torch moving between
the carcass halves. This symbolized God’s presence and action. As this
was a unilateral contract between God and Abraham, Abraham was not asked to
walk between the carcass halves.
(By the way, this incident of God’s covenant with Abraham is reported differently in the Quran- as when Abraham divided the birds and put them in two halves, the two halves came together and the birds flew back to him as a sign of God’s confirmation of his sacrifice being accepted. I am going to have a presentation of what Islam teaches about Biblical figures in their Quran this Monday from 7.00 -9.00 pm. If you like to know more about Islamic religion, just show up Monday). Now back to scripture..
God’s covenant shows that he wants to be close to us, but in fact he was still distant. This is symbolized by the smoking pot and burning torch that God used to represent his walking through the sacrificial animals.
Jesus’ Transfiguration established his glorious identity as the beloved Son of God, and placed his divine Sonship in the context of Jewish expectations about the kingdom and the resurrection.
As Christians, followers of Jesus what we all need now is transformation, not transfiguration which we will have at the resurrection. We need to transformation like the pagan Patriarch Abram had, from a worshipper of pagan gods into a worshipper of one true God and living in total obedience to Him.
An old farmer from the countryside who was visiting a big city for the first time with his son, stood speechless before the elevator of a big hotel, watching in wonder, as an old woman got into the elevator and, within minutes, a beautiful young woman came out. He called out to his son who was registering at the reception. “Son, put your mother into that miracle machine immediately. It will transform her into a beautiful young lady.”
Well, we have several of that kind of transforming “machines”. The church we are in is the primary one. After each Holy Mass we are expected to go back transformed and renewed. If we go back the same way, it did us no good.
In each Holy Mass, the bread and wine we offer on the altar become transformed into the living body and blood of the crucified, risen and glorified Jesus. And when we receive that Jesus worthily we are also supposed to be transformed in our minds and hearts so that we may do more good by humble and selfless service to others.
Each time we receive one of the sacraments, we are transformed: For example, baptism transforms us into sons and daughters of God and heirs of heaven. Confirmation makes us temples of the Holy Spirit and warriors of God. By the sacrament of reconciliation, God brings back the sinner to the path of holiness.
Spending quiet time before the blessed sacrament is the best way to transform us. Peter, John and James witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus when they were praying. If we need 'mountain-top experiences' as they had in our lives during this lent, find some extra time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. We don’t have enough people to fill in the slots on Tuesdays and first Fridays and Saturdays. When you are before the blessed sacrament you are not representing just yourself, you are representing the whole parish and the needs of the people of the parish before the Eucharistic Lord. And you should feel the feeling of Peter on
: Lord, it is good
to be here, let me stay here for ever. And you should listen to the Father’s
voice as Peter and others heard, this is my beloved son, listen to Him.
Actually, this is the message the Father tells us all the time: Listen to him.
This is the same message Mary also had to tell at the miracle at mount
Tabor Cana. She told the waiters, listen to him and do what he
tells you. During this lent, let’s ask ourselves, do we fine time to listen to
In this Mass, Jesus will come to be close to us again, to bridge the distance between us and God, just as he did with Peter, James, and John on the mountaintop. Let's listen to him, and promise to keep on listening, every day.