Surpassing Worldly Figures

Second Sunday of Lent (A)

Many times we see the Transfiguration of Jesus as the romantic experience the disciples of Jesus had on Mt. Tabor, where He was described to glow, and the Father’s voice was heard.  The disciples saw the glory of Jesus, but did not yet understand what it meant.

The word transfiguration comes for the words “trans” and “figure.” “Trans” is moving forward, going across or surpassing something; figure is a symbol, a shape, a representation or a general impression of something or someone. If we use these meanings, transfiguration is moving forward or surpassing a shape or a general impression of something or someone. The disciples could not yet understand the transfiguration of Jesus because they could not yet surpass the figure they had of Jesus; they could not yet surpass the earthly meaning of Messiah and liberation.

The transfiguration of Jesus on Mt. Tabor was a preparation for the Paschal Mystery, the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus, as well as the pre-figuration of His glorious state in the Kingdom of His Father and His role in the life of His people. Without the glory of His resurrection, his suffering and death would have no meaning.

God asked Abraham to leave his country, his home, his property, his comfort zone, to a land that God would show him.  God wanted him to move forward, surpass his figures of faith and live according to God’s direction. So, God told Abraham: “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. All the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you” (Gen 12:1-4).

We have a divine invitation: to be a blessing to everyone, and to surpass our earthly figures of God, for what we know of Him is not all that He is.  He is more than what we know and think of; and God wants to direct our lives. He asks us to leave our comfort zones and walk in His ways:

– from our homes and families,  with the closeness of our loved ones because we are blood related, to the church, the community where people have to be close to one another in faith, hope and love;

– from our own tables because we have prepared our food,  to the table of the altar of sacrifice where God has prepared His Son to be food for life and to be the life of the world;

– from the shade of our roof and the comfort of our house, to the temples of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of God’s people,  because God lives in the hearts of men and women who seek him constantly;

– from our affluent fellowship with friends, to the uncomfortable cross on which Jesus is laid in the condition of the poor and the needy, whom He calls blessed, for He has nowhere to lay His head on;

– from the comfortable air of our activities, to seemingly unrewarding, and at times frustrating, activities of service to others.

God is inviting us to His house, His Church. God is inviting us to His joy: his people, who trust in Him. God is inviting us to His table, to partake of His Son in the celebration of the Eucharist. He is inviting us to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, no matter how uncomfortable it is to face the minister of God. He is inviting us to formation sessions and meetings, so that we can learn about Him and the Church. He invites us to serve in whatever capacity for His people.  God is inviting us to cross over from the temporal comfort of our lives to the saving and healing gifts that He offers, so that we can be transfigured and be a blessing to others, and thus, take us to Himself through His suffering, death and resurrection. St. Paul proclaims: He saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works, but according to his own design….” (2 Tim 1:9).

When Jesus said to his disciples, “Rise, and do not be afraid,” He knew what He was going to do. He would strengthen His disciples with the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit, He would remain with them till the end of time, and He would teach them what they needed and remind them of all that they have been taught.

With the Eucharist that we celebrate and partake, let us rise from our comfort zones, let us have the courage to obey God’s laws and the laws of the Church, and trust that God will do marvelous things for His people. Powerless, though we seem to be in this world, we are powerful in Him who gives life through His gift of the Holy Spirit.

 

3-16-14

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