Only Through the Cross Do We Find Life
The paradox that binds our belief....and keep us coming back
The Lenten Season is by its very nature a solemn, restrained and rather subdued time of spiritual and religious reflection for Christians worldwide. Perhaps one would even refer to it as "mellow" given that word's popular rise and subsequent use in our modern day vernacular, particularly amongst the younger crowd.
But the 2nd week of Lent gives us a brief albeit precious glimpse into our glorious future as we witness the transfiguration of Jesus.
The apostles on hand (Peter, John and James) are not quite sure what to make of this nor do they appear to fully understand the gravity of the situation, which is OK in that the mystical element of the transfiguration is all part of the unfolding of Jesus' destiny. After all, this is His personal covenant with God just as the covenant forged between God and Abraham, which was revealed to us in the 1st Reading (Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18), is of a personal and intimate nature as well.
When Peter says "Master, it is good that we are here" I oftentimes wonder if he is telling Jesus this with conviction or perhaps stating it with an inquisitive inflection, maybe seeking some type of reassurance from Jesus or quite possibly even something that resembles an explanation. His desire to pitch tents for his Master and the great prophets Moses and Elijah lead us to believe that he has in fact been filled with the Holy Spirit and seeks a true "mountain top experience", as it was a common practice of the times to retreat to the mountains in order to encounter a deep spiritual moment.
This glimpse of that which was to come is vital. The transfiguration reminds us that intense suffering ultimately gives way to paradise in the form of the Resurrected Christ. If we repent and believe the good news, as we are implored to do on Ash Wednesday, we will be made worthy of this immeasurably generous promise. Yet as believers we continually return to the Cross.
Perhaps it's due to the fact that a truly genuine spiritual life can only be experienced through the cross. We believe as Catholics that our sins are forgiven by God yet our day-to-day actions oftentimes belie this cornerstone belief. Eternal grace of that magnitude not only takes time to accept, it actually takes time to fully grasp and understand. Eliminating the choking effects of guilt while still maintaining a healthy conscience is a very tricky proposition and it too takes time, proper reflection and prayer.
We were afforded the chance to shine with eternal and transfigured light at the moment of our Baptism, which is when we entered into true fellowship with God as His sons and daughters. In a few short weeks we will renew our baptismal vows in unison as a Parish Community. To better understand the magnitude of what is in store for us children of God requires a vivid imagination, for God promises us that which is beyond our Earthly comprehension. Scripture is filled with reminders of what's in store for as at the end of a spiritually well-lived journey, one in which we place God and our brothers and sisters ahead of ourselves.
It is our duty to shine this gift of dazzling transfigured light upon all those we meet.