2nd Sunday of Lent!
Transfiguration Transforms Our Daily Lives!
Dr. Peggy Hartshorn, president of Heartbeat International, tells a dramatic story about a woman who had a glimpse of the mystery of her unborn child. A young woman was seeking an abortion. She could not handle having a baby at that time. But she agreed for an ultrasound. When the baby appeared on the screen, the woman was amazed to see perfectly formed body, tiny legs, and arms moving inside her womb. But the woman kept saying, “No, no, I have to have an abortion.” Dr. Hartshorn felt sad, but she knew from her experience that seventy-five percent of women who see an ultrasound decide not to do an abortion but to keep the baby. But twenty-five percent still have an abortion. It seemed like this woman would fall into the category of those twenty-five percent. All of a sudden, Dr. Hartshorn’s assistant said, “Reach out and take your baby’s hand.” Immediately her motherly instinct raised her hand and touched the monitor. As though by some divine cue, the baby stretched out his arm to the exact place of his mother’s hand. On the screen, his tiny fingers met his mother’s hand. She was moved, touched, transformed, and decided not to abort but to keep the baby. What a marvelous story of tangible manifestation leading to personal transformation?
There is a mystery inside each one of us, the mystery of the image of God. The readings for the Second Sunday of Lent highlight Jesus’ identity as God’s beloved Son revealed at His Baptism and Transfiguration. The first reading (Genesis 22: 1-2,9,10-13,15-18) shows us how God saved the life of Abraham’s Son Isaac. As a reward for Abraham’s faith and trust in God, He renewed His promise to Abraham with the blessings of land and progeny. The second reading (Romans 8: 31-34) says the story of God not sparing His own Son but sparing Abraham’s Son; because God loves us with an everlasting love. In the Gospel, according to Mark (9: 2-10), Jesus is revealed as a glorious figure, superior to Moses and Elijah, who experienced theophanies. Jesus is identified here by a Heavenly Voice as the Son of God. Thus, the transfiguration narrative is a Christophany, a manifestation or revelation of who Jesus really is. The Transfiguration of Jesus shows us a glimpse of the Heavenly glory awaiting those of us who do God’s will by putting our faith and trust in Him.
The primary purpose of Jesus’ Transfiguration was to allow Him to consult His Heavenly Father and ascertain God’s plan for His Son’s suffering, death, and Resurrection. The Transfiguration authorized Jesus to make His way to Jerusalem to meet His destiny, the Cross, and His vindication. The secondary purpose was to make the apostles aware of His divine glory so that they might discard their worldly ambitions and dreams of their master becoming a political Messiah. The Transfiguration also established Jesus’ glorious identity as the beloved Son of God. The event of Transfiguration took place in late summer, just before the Feast of the Tabernacles. The Western Church celebrates the Transfiguration at the beginning of Lent, which is today, and the formal feast is celebrated on the 6th of August.
Dear brother and sisters, there are areas of transformation in our lives as well. Every event that touches the core of a person brings transformation, be it positive or negative. For us, as Christians, there are three levels where transformation takes place. At the level of our baptism, where we are transformed into children of God, at the moment of our victory over trials and tribulations into opportunities of spiritual growth, and the hour of our death into eternal glory. We also experience transformation during transubstantiation in the Holy Mass, where bread and wine are transubstantiated into the body and blood of Jesus. Transfiguration also transforms our lives into a life of reconciliation, forgiveness, compassion, kindness, above all, a life of charity, purity, and holiness. This transformation will also enable us to hold back on harsh words and let love rule so that we may seek reconciliation rather than revenge, pray for those who give us a hard time, avoid bad-mouthing those we disagree with, forgive those who hurt us, and love those who hate us. Our transformed lives will enable us to radiate the glory and grace of the transfigured Lord around us by our Spirit-filled lives. May the Transfiguration of our Lord transform our daily lives! Have a blessed weekend!
Fr. Tomy Joseph Puliyanampattayil, MSFS (Fr. T J. Puliyan, MSFS)