2nd Sunday of Lent, Year A.
Genesis 12:1-4 – 2 Timothy 1:8-10 – Matthew 17:1-9.
Last Sunday we were called to journey with Jesus through the desert experience of the 40 days of Lent in order to rediscover who we are. As we journey along together, we also come to realise that we are on pilgrimage; we are all pilgrims, going through this world to the destination that God has prepared for us. We were called into existence by God, who made us and who wants us to see His glory and be touched by it. Each one of us goes with Him individually – like Abram, who was called to leave the comfort of his father’s house and make his way to a better and more glorious place destined for him by God; and each one of us goes with Him as a valued member of a community of faith, like Peter, James and John who climbed a mountain and were rewarded with a glorious personal experience of God.
A time away with God. In today’s gospel, Jesus takes His closest disciples right away from the hustle & bustle and the business of the world around them, and leads them up a mountain. This itself is not unusual, because it is always necessary to take some time out with the Lord. Jesus Himself often went to the mountaintop to pray on His own – but He also takes us with Him so that we appreciate the value of purposefully being alone with God. It was during this time of being with God and staying alone with Him that the Transfiguration occurred. Think about it! Such a lot happens in our spiritual life when we deliberately make time to be alone with the Lord.
In fact, all of us have had experiences in life like the glorious vision of the Transfiguration on the mountaintop. We have experienced times when, just for a split second, we have caught a fleeting glimpse of metaphysical glory and beauty … times when we see beyond ordinary events to something extraordinary, to something above-and-beyond natural, to something supranatural, above-natural. Such moments as these are for us like the Transfiguration experience when, like Peter, James and John, we are overwhelmed by a remarkable sense of being in the presence of God. In that very moment, if we pay attention, we will be able to hear the voice of God speaking to us. Many a time, however, when we are gifted with such an experience, we may not be listening attentively; or even when we are listening, all too quickly we set aside what we heard from God. It is imperative that you give your full attention to listening out for the still, small voice of God speaking to you.
It is not an easy thing to do, to leave our ground-level comfort zones and to climb our way up to the summit with Jesus, as did Peter, James and John. Nor was it an easy thing for Abram to leave behind the comfort of his father’s house, and to go all the way to a distant place with which he was not familiar but which he was promised he would be shown. It is not an easy thing to embark on spiritual activities
in our own time – to climb the mountain of prayer or to immerse ourselves in faith-based exercises. We all know from personal experience how many people go out of their way to avoid doing anything that is religious in nature, protesting that they would rather be doing other things at home, instead of being with God in prayer as we do as a community. Lent is a season of undertaking exercises that uplift faith, and of setting aside extra time to spend in prayer with God … God through whom our life is gloriously transformed, and through whom we become blessings to others.
In the same way that God followed up the call of Abram with blessings, and the call of Peter, James and John up the mountain with the glimpse of heavenly glory, whenever we too take the opportunity to separate ourselves from the world to spend time with God, our efforts are often rewarded with blessings or blessed experiences.
Thus, as we answer God’s call to go wherever He wants us to go, to follow His Son Jesus up a certain physical or spiritual mountain track, no matter whether the path be rugged or smooth, we can be absolutely certain that we shall see God’s glory and that our lives will be affected positively by the experience. As the multiple blessings bestowed upon Abram in the First Reading rippled out to so many people, through us will many in our community also receive blessings. Simply put, our journey with Jesus through this Lenten period is designed by God in order that we may become blessings to others, and channels of the blessings of God to many. May the glory of the Transfiguration be our inheritance both now and always. Amen. God bless you.