Scripture Second Sunday of Lent (Mark 9:2-10)
Jesus took Peter, James, and John
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them,
and his clothes became dazzling white,
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses,
and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
"Rabbi, it is good that we are here!
Let us make three tents:
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them;
from the cloud came a voice,
"This is my beloved Son. Listen to him."
Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone
but Jesus alone with them.
As they were coming down from the mountain,
he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone,
except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
So they kept the matter to themselves,
questioning what rising from the dead meant.
God is so patient with us. How often have we, with the best of intentions, headed the wrong way on our journeys of faith? Our faithful ancestors not only model how to follow the Lord, but also how to re-calculate the route humbly when God sheds a clearer light on the situation.
What amazing conviction Abraham showed in response to God’s request to “Take your son, Isaac, your only one, whom you love…offer him up as a holocaust.” God shed a clearer light and Abraham responded; God blesses him (and us). Thank you, Abraham, for your openness and humility. Thank you, Lord, for your patience.
God’s light has rarely shone brighter than it did before Peter, James and John at the transfiguration. What clarification did the apostles need? Nothing less than to see the clear truth of the coming redemption, and of the Messiah in their midst. Immediately before the transfiguration, just as the Lord had done with Abraham, Jesus has made something very clear to the apostles: the cost of discipleship. “If any man would come after me, let him take up his cross and follow me.” Thank you, Peter, James and John, for your openness and humility. Thank you, Lord, for your patience.
Given a clearer path, Abraham and Peter take a step in a better direction. From our perspective, much further down the line in salvation history, we can see that their routes are still a bit askew. We know that, around the next corners, more mistakes will be made. God will be patient.
Imagine God’s patience with the likes of St. Paul, St. Augustine and St. Francis. He sent them some very clear signs, which they did not always see or hear. Imagine the humility it took for these saints to finally accept the light of God’s truth. Self-righteous St. Paul needed to be knocked down. Self-indulgent St. Augustine asked God to help him change his ways, “but,” (literally said) “just not yet.” Self-denying St. Francis under-estimated his own ability and influence and took God’s call to “re-build my Church” in its most simple sense.
How can we begin to see our own paths more clearly? These scriptures tell us we need to be open to the Lord and the sacrifice discipleship entails. These saints show us that we need to show humility and get over ourselves.
- To be open to the light of Christ, what might we need to give up, or get over?
- Like St. Paul, is it our desire to be right that keeps us from seeing the light?
- Like St. Augustine, is it our desire to be free that keeps us from seeing the light?
- Like St. Francis, is it our desire to be loved that keeps us from seeing the light?
These Lenten reflections are written by friends of 12plus1, Inc. Discovery House a service-based gap year experience for participants ages 18-20 will begin August 2018. Please share this information with an individuals who may want to participate or support this new ministry.
Give just a few more minutes each day to be open to the light of Christ. Make an Examen, part of your daily routine. On the ride to work or home, after a meal, or lying in bed, consider the signs the day has sent you. Ask yourself if your personal desires might be obscuring the light.
Mary Gentile is the Associate Director of the St. Clare Center for Catholic Life. She taught theology at Catholic Memorial High School for many years. She is pictured here with her family.