From the Pastor's Desk
QUESTION OF THE WEEK:How can I be a witness to God’s grace in my life?
The common theme of today’s readings is metamorphosis or transformation. The readings invite us to work with the Holy Spirit to transform our lives by renewing them during Lent so that they radiate the glory and grace of the transfigured Lord to all around us by our Spirit-filled lives.
Scripture lessons summarized
The first reading describes the transformation of a pagan patriarch into a believer in the one God, the transformation of his name from Abram to Abraham, and the first covenant of God with Abraham’s family as a reward for Abraham’s obedience to God.
In the second reading, St. Paul argues that it is not observance of the Mosaic Law and circumcision that transforms people into Christians, and hence, that Gentiles need not become Jews to become Christians.
In the Transfiguration account in today’s Gospel, Jesus is revealed as a glorious figure, superior to Moses and Elijah. The primary purpose of Jesus’ Transfiguration was to allow Him to consult his Heavenly Father in order to ascertain His plan for His Son’s suffering, death and Resurrection. The secondary aim was to make his chosen disciples aware of his 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 experience is a Christophany, 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.
(1) 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 become “transfigured” or transformed (transubstanted) into the living Body and Blood of the crucified, risen, and glorified Jesus. Just as Jesus’ Transfiguration was meant to strengthen the apostles in their time of trial, each holy Mass should be our source of Heavenly strength against temptations, and for our Lenten renewal.
(2) 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.
(3) The Transfiguration of Jesus offers us a message of encouragement and hope: In moments of doubt and during our dark moments of despair and hopelessness, the thought of our own transfiguration in Heaven will help us to reach out to God and to listen to His consoling words: "This is my beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased -- listen to Him!” and so share the glory of His transfiguration. 4) We need “mountain-top experiences” in our lives: We share the mountain-top experience of Peter, James and John when we spend extra time in prayer during Lent. Fasting for one day can help the body to store up spiritual energy. This spiritual energy can help us have thoughts that are far higher and nobler than our usual mundane thinking..