2nd Sunday of Lent: Transfiguration
On the top of the mountain, the disciples Peter, James, and John experienced the transfiguration. Out of the cloud, they heard a lovely voice: “This is my son, the chosen one, Listen to Him.” Peter exclaimed: “It is wonderful for us to be here.” Peter wanted to stay on the mountain and wanted to build three tents there, away from all troubles and dangers. They wanted to stay up on the mountain, because they thought that by seeing the glorified Jesus, they had achieved holiness in life.
Jesus shows us that holiness is not a place, a mood, or a feeling. Holiness is an action that has to be discovered in our lives by loving God and our brothers and sisters. The holiness that is expected of us is service to the poor, to the under-privileged, and to the forgotten. Transfiguration invites us to break the chains of our selfishness and pride and find time to share our time, talents, and treasures with the needy. Then, we really experience the transfiguration in our daily lives.
Each time we celebrate The Holy Eucharist, we should experience the transfiguration in our Eucharistic celebration and from this holy experience, we should share outside of the church by loving and showing mercy to people, who are broken, poor, sick, suffering, and unwanted. St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta is a great example of this: she shared the mountain experience that she found each time in the Eucharist. She shared her holy experience by serving to the poorest of the poor. St. Mother Teresa said, “Just as Jesus allows Himself to be broken, to be given to us as food, we too must break, we must share with each other, with our own people, in our homes and in our communities, and in our lives become the Eucharistic life.”
However, Jesus said we have to go back down from the mountain and face the realities of life. We all know the top of the mountain always feels good, very comfortable, safe, and secure; but to come down from the mountain is not very easy. It means we have to face our daily challenges and it is very risky to come down and live with ordinary people, to experience pain, suffering, sickness, and so on. Nobody wants to come down; everybody wants to always be on the “top place.”
The joy and comfort of Mount Tabor strengthen the disciples to face the agony and trouble of Calvary. In our lives, we, too, can have moments of transfiguration with rare moments of light and joy. These moments of transfiguration are given to us to strengthen us for our everyday tasks and to enable us to face the cross, which in some shape or form comes to everyone.
We can identify with the disciples their mountaintop experiences of joy and consolation and we, too, want to stay on top of the mountain. When we experience moments of trial and suffering we want to flee from the mountain. We forget that God did not promise us a rose garden but a garden of olives and a crown of thorns! For the disciples, the Transfiguration experience was a preparation for their trials, which they are going to face in the near future. Also, Jesus wants to teach us the glory shining into our present sufferings. Jesus does not change the world but Jesus can transform our hearts, if we allow Jesus to come into our lives!