February 21, 2016 - 2nd Sunday of Lent, Year C
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
We mean to do well. We give up this or that for Lent, with the best of intentions. But we never quite keep our word.
Perhaps this happens because we tend to focus on the negative. I will give this up for Lent. But why? For what? There must be an accompanying focus on the positive.
I will give this up so that I can do this instead. I will not do this so that I will have more time to do that.
Typically, we don’t think this way. So now one fourth of the way through Lent, we’ve probably become discouraged, and maybe even disappointed in ourselves.
Our fasting and prayer and almsgiving don’t seem to be doing any good. Things aren’t going the way we thought they would. Maybe this is because our focus was not where it should have been. So we are ready to give up and go back to our old ways.
We’ve gone into the desert to be tempted and taunted by the devil and we have given in to those temptations.
Now, consumed by feelings of guilt and shame and worthlessness, we are ready to throw in the towel.
The cross is too heavy. Discipleship is too costly. The road to God is too difficult. We are feeling discouraged.
When the Transfiguration took place, Jesus and the disciples were on the way to Jerusalem. It would be the last time Jesus made the journey he had made so many times before. Jesus knew that it wasn’t going to go well once he got there.
It is possible that he was distressed, discouraged. Maybe that’s why we went up the mountain to pray.
Jesus was worried about the disciples. Did they understand? Were they comprehending his message? Were they ready for their mission?
The disciples were worried about Jesus. They feared for his life.
Things just didn’t seem to be going well at all. Doesn’t this sound familiar?
God the Father knew that they needing reassuring. And so gave them this profound experience of the Transfiguration.
The brilliant, dazzling, comforting experience was meant for Jesus and for the disciples. It was meant for us too. We get to be witnesses.
This is my beloved Son, the chosen one, listen to him.
They needed this experience to have the strength to continue on their journey.
We also need reassuring, just like Jesus, just like the disciples. We need this experience of Jesus’ transfiguration to make it through our 40 days of Lent
And what does the voice from heaven tell us to do? Listen. Listen. Listen.
We are encouraged to spend the rest of our days of Lent listening, in prayer, to Jesus who says:
If you give something up, you must have a reason. I give this up so that I can do this other good thing instead.
We may have come here today discouraged, ready to give up. But we are given this wonderful glimpse into the glory of God. And we are given the strength we need to continue on our Lenten journey.