How is your Lenten journey? How are you being with Jesus in the desert? Last Sunday, the First Sunday of Lent, we heard proclaimed St. Mark’s account of the temptation of Jesus. Having just been baptized by John in the Jordan, Jesus is “driven by the Spirit” into the wilderness where He will come face to face with Satan and the allurement of sin. Jesus’ victory over temptation and sin gives us confidence that, in Christ, we, too, will be victorious in our struggle with the powers of evil. That Gospel passage is a fitting start to our annual Lenten journey a journey that takes us away from sin and toward a deeper love of God.
This weekend we have St. Mark’s account of the transfiguration of Jesus in the presence of Peter, James and John. What a dramatic shift from last Sunday’s Gospel. It’s like having a stop in the middle of desert at the oasis!!! We have moved quickly from a mortal struggle with sin and death to a vision of the glories of heaven itself. This movement from sin and death to heavenly glory gives us a picture not only of Jesus’ divine mission but also of our journey as disciples of Christ.
We can imagine what those disciples felt as they saw Jesus transfigured before their eyes, His clothes dazzling white. And Moses and Elijah standing before them. In spite of their fear, Peter exclaims: “Rabbi, it is good that we are here.” In the presence of the great heroes of old and of the promised Messiah, this was truly a glimpse of heaven itself, of the glory that was to come. Is it any wonder that Peter wanted this moment to continue, indeed to go on forever?
But this was not to be. Not until Jesus had undergone His passion and death and been raised from the dead. Then, and only then, could He enter into His glory, taking His disciples with Him. He charged them to tell no one of this vision until He had risen from the dead.
Do you see what Jesus is teaching His disciples and us? Do you understand that the crown of victory comes only after we have been victorious in our battle with sin? Jesus’ own resurrection reveals to us that He has won the battle with the devil. But the struggle continues to be played out in each of our lives. With fidelity to Christ and trust in His grace we, too, will be victorious in our earthly contest. For now, we must “listen to God’s Son” and see in Him the Son of God, after whom we fashion our lives.
The transfiguration gives us a brief glimpse of the life to come in heaven. At the same time, it reveals the glory that is ours right now in this life. We must not see our life in God as only a future reality. We are sons and daughters of God now, and the glory of God brightens us at this very moment. His justifying and sanctifying grace introduce us into the life of heaven even in this world. In living faithfully, the Christian life today, especially our worthy reception of the sacraments, we move that much closer to the fulfillment of life in Christ–our heavenly home. Let us continue our Lenten “caravan” with Jesus, trusting Him, loving Him and being faithful to His teaching.
P.S. You are all invited for our First Friday and First Saturday celebrations this weekend.
There will be NO First Tuesday devotion to St. Michael the Archangel this week. We have moved this celebration permanently to the III Tuesday of the month. Please remember about that.
With prayers for all of you