Mark 9; 2-10 Second Sunday in Lent. March 1st, 2015
As we continue in Lent, every Sunday should be a day of reflection on which we take a look at how we are progressing with our Lenten penance, prayer and in our greater movement away from sin and toward God. Have we been able to keep our Lenten resolutions so far? However even more than this, have we begun to see changes in our heart, in our life resulting from the different penances that we have taken on; is our prayer life better, deeper, more intense; has our virtue improved; have we died more to our own will and begun to live more faithfully God’s Holy Will?
Perhaps so far, for the most part, we have failed in our Lenten disciplines and given into temptation, or maybe we just don’t see any results and so we have already become discouraged, even now at the beginning of Lent. Perhaps, after making a good resolution to be more patient with our family, our spouse or our children, or our co-worker, it seems we have become more impatience, not less. Maybe we have failed in our resolution to get to bed on time so we can get enough sleep in order not to lose our patience because of our tiredness. Maybe that resolution to guard our tongue lasted only a few days, only to slip up at the first frustrating event or person to come our way. Or maybe in our attempt to fast from complaining, we seemed to have given into complaining even more.
In order to give us encouragement, the Church today gives us the Gospel of the Transfiguration of Jesus. It is, as it were, Jesus giving us not only a little bit of encouragement, but a lot of hope as well. In the passage today, we read where Jesus takes Peter, James and John and climbs the mountain. This story occurs on the heels of a rather tough time for the disciples, especially for St. Peter.
Peter was having a good day when he professed that Jesus was God--a very great and deep act of faith. But right after this, Jesus begins to teach the disciples the cross—that He himself would have to suffer and die. This was just too difficult for them to accept; they couldn’t understand why this would have to happen. They also were certainly quite afraid. And so, Peter cried out to Jesus- “God forbid this would ever happen!” Jesus response to Peter was very stern, to say the least: “Get thee behind me Satan!”
Poor Peter was living wonderfully, his faith strong one minute and the next he was failing miserably. Well the truth is, is we all can be like Peter; one minute we’re full of faith and fervor and the next we fall flat on our faces. We can say, yes Jesus I will die for you, and then when given the chance to do so, we can go running off into the woods in fear; or even worst, we can outright deny our Blessed Lord when confronted with the cross.
With the cross now revealed to them, it is then that the fearful, weak disciples climbed the mountain with Jesus. The climbing I think symbolizing the disciples ascending to God in faith. The work of faith is hard, being faithful to Jesus by be faithful to His teachings which come to us through His Holy Church is hard. It’s hard because love is hard because love is about self-sacrificing for love of the other—God first and then our neighbor as our self for love God. This reminds us that faith and love has nothing to do with emotions or “feeling good” because often it entails the cross…,.
At the top of the mountain, after the hard climb, the three arrive and suddenly Jesus is transformed before them. In His transfiguration, Jesus reveals just a tiny, miniscule hint of the incredible glory of His Divinity. How awesome it must have been to be on that mountain and see a glimpse of heaven itself, to see a glimpse of the face of God--it was a glimpse into that of which, “eye has not seen, ear as not heard, nor has it even entered into the mind of man…”
By seeing Jesus’ divinity shining through his humanity, the disciples were filled with Holy Fear. And yet, at the same time, they were filled with Hope, because they saw the Truth about Jesus who was their hope. With hope in Jesus, they began already to possess Jesus and be possessed by Him, a possession of love, heaven begun already on earth.
And Because of this hope that they now possessed in their hearts, they would be able carry their own cross and to pass victorious through their own future passion and death. They knew through the certainty of faith that Jesus was always with them in order to strengthen them with His divine love given to them through His humanity, which they received in the Holy Eucharist. By the power of this love, Jesus’ love alive within them, they persevered to the end and reached that goal which they saw on that Mountain of Tabor-union with God Himself.
Today Holy Mother Church tells us that the transfiguration wasn’t just for the apostles; it is for all of us as well. It reminds us that Jesus always treat those who love Him, the same way. He accompanies them always and gives them hope. He helps them in their struggle to leave sin behind and turn to Him more fully, not only during Lent but also during their whole lives. Jesus helps them not to become discourage in their own climb up the mountain of Holiness. He accompanies them in the carrying of their own cross, so they through faith, they will arrive on the top of that mountain, which signifies the glory of union with God. On that mountain they will not just peak into the divine nature, but through Jesus’ human nature, enter into deep intimacy and union with the Divine Nature--with God Himself and share in His glory.
It is here at the Holy Mass that the Transfiguration is made truly and actually present for us to behold and to partake; it is here that the Human Nature of Jesus is made truly present to us in the Holy Eucharist; it is here we can be on that mountain and literally keep our eyes on Jesus by gazing on the Holy Eucharist. Jesus comes to us in the person of the priest to pronounce the words of the consecration and there He turns simple bread and wine into his very Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, His whole self in all His glory and with all of His Divine Power.
Adoring the Holy Eucharist we too can, through the eyes of faith, get a glimpse of the divinity of Jesus shining through. Jesus transforms in front of our eyes at every Holy Mass, in even greater glory than the Transfiguration, but this glory must be veiled under the appearance of bread and wine or we would die of joy. To see this glory through the eyes of our faith strengthens our hope and strengthen our love nonetheless—for this reason, the Holy Eucharist is our Hope and the Hope of the World!
As the priest raises Jesus up for us to adore at this Holy Mass, we too, if we listen, can hear the words of the Father, “Behold this is my beloved Son, listen to Him.” Like the apostles, this is what gives us the strength we need to face our own trails and sufferings that await us. This glory, the glory of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist renews us. It is good for us to be here at this Holy Mass where we to can come to Mt Tabor! Here or anytime we can come before the Tabor-nacle, and sit before the glory of Jesus hidden in the little white host.
The more in faith we behold Jesus in the Eucharist and adore, hope and love Him there, the more we receive Him in Holy Communion with our souls made pure by the Sacrament of Confession, the more our faith is strengthened, our hope renewed and our love increased.
And after we receive Him worthily in Holy Communion He stays but a little while sacramentally, but before He goes, He gives us the Holy Spirit so He can stay with us always in Spirit. As a result, in the very midst of our greatest discouragement, struggles and during our greatest sufferings, Jesus is present with us, within us and gives us the consolations we need to keep going forward and even be used by Jesus to help others to do the same by sharing with Jesus and His hope alive in us.
With Jesus at our side, it doesn’t matter if we are on the mountain of consolation, or in the deepest valley of desolation; it doesn’t even matter if we are in the valley of death, Jesus will always be with us. No matter where we are, or the circumstances we are in, with His help, we will be able to see Jesus behind it all. If we are with Him, it is all the same whether we find ourselves surrounded by the greatest consolations in the world or in a hospital bed suffering indescribable pain. The only thing that matters is that we always see Jesus and live in His Divine presence.
And it all begins by Believing, Adoring, Hoping and Loving Jesus truly present in the Holy Eucharist and begging pardon for those who don’t. Through the Holy Eucharist who is Jesus, we will reach the joy of glory of the Resurrection and help countless others to do the same! This is the only really good and important thing in this life and in the next. Holy Mary, mother of the Eucharist help us to open our hearts to Jesus and give our hearts totally in return….Jesus I trust in You!!!