From the Pastor's Desk
The common theme of today’s readings is metamorphosis or transformation. The readings invite us to cooperate with the grace of God with the assistance of the Holy Spirit to transform our lives, by renewing them during Lent and to radiate the grace of the transfigured Lord around us by our Spirit-filled lives.
The first reading explains how his trusting faith in his God’s mercy and power and his blind obedience to his God’s order to sacrifice his only son of his old age, transformed the life of Abraham, making him the supreme model of Faith in God’s promises and obedience to His Holy Will.
That is why Paul recalls, in the second reading, that God the Father did not spare the life of His Own Son Jesus when he volunteered to die for our salvation, while He saved the life of Abraham’s son Isaac. Why? Because God loves us with an everlasting love.
Today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 116) speaks of God’s distress at the death of anyone. “Too costly in the eyes of the LORD is the death of His faithful.”
In the Transfiguration story in today’s Gospel, Jesus is revealed in His Heavenly glory, superior to Moses and Elijah. The primary purpose of Jesus’ Transfiguration was to allow him to consult his Heavenly Father and ascertain His plan for His Son’s suffering, death and Resurrection. God’s secondary aim was to make Jesus’ chosen disciples aware of Jesus’ Divine glory, so that they might discard their worldly ambitions and dreams of a conquering political Messiah and might be strengthened in their time of trial. On the mountain, Jesus is identified by the Heavenly Voice as the Son of God. Thus, the transfiguration narrative is a Christophany, that is, a manifestation or revelation of Who Jesus really is. Describing Jesus’ Transfiguration, the Gospel gives us a glimpse of the Heavenly glory awaiting those who do God’s will by putting their trusting Faith in Him. Jesus’ transfiguration also strengthens us in the face of our afflictions.
(1) The “transfiguration” in the Holy Mass is the source of our strength: In each Holy Mass, the bread and wine we offer on the altar are changed into the crucified and risen, living body and blood of Jesus by transubstantiation. Just as Jesus’ transfiguration strengthened the apostles in their time of trial, each holy Mass should be our source of Heavenly strength against temptations, and our renewal during Lent. In addition, our Holy Communion with the living Jesus should be the source of our daily “transfiguration,” transforming our minds and hearts so that we may do more good by humble and selfless service to others.
(2) A message of encouragement and hope: In moments of doubt and during our dark moments of despair and hopelessness, the thought of our future transformation in Heaven will help us to reach out to God and to listen to His consoling words: "This is my beloved son." Let us offer our Lenten sacrifices to our Lord so that, through these practices of Lent and through the acceptance of our daily crosses, we may grow closer to him in his suffering, may share in the carrying of his cross and finally may share the glory of his second “transfiguration,” namely, his Resurrection.