A Time for Transformation

2nd Sunday of Lent
By Fr. Chinnappan Pelavendran

As we now enter the Second Week of Lent, our task is to continue to examine our hearts and change ourselves to be worthy of the Lord’s glorious paschal mystery. As human beings, we do not like change and we resist any change as much as we can. However, change is a part of our life, and we cannot just depend on our past glory and achievements. We know that we are pilgrims on a journey to a more permanent dwelling place, a place of total union with our God of Truth and Love. The readings for today invite us to reflect on the paradox of our Christian faith that we belong here but at the same time, we do not belong here. It is in this world that we are to find a home with God in the world to come.

Today’s first reading describes Abraham’s journey of faith. He had been asked to leave his homeland and to go and live in a strange place if he did so, he was promised a great future for his family and descendants. Without any further guarantees, Abram sets out. His readiness to put his trust in God’s word was rewarded by becoming our father in faith. At this time Abraham had no children and expresses his desire to the Lord. God had assured him of a great dynasty as numerous as the stars of heaven. He shows it to Abraham through a covenant. From this experience, Abraham knew his trust in God was justified.

In the second reading taken from the Letter of St. Paul to the Philippians, we heard St. Paul tell the new Christians that our citizenship is in Heaven, that is, the goal and destination of our lives are to be one with God. St. Paul explains to them the Lord Jesus Christ and how the Lord will transfigure our wretched bodies into copies of His glorious body. He will do that by the same power with which he can subdue the whole universe. At the same time, we do not belong to this world because Christ died for us so that we may be made righteous through Him. Through His death on the Cross as the sacrificial Lamb, we inherit the salvation that awaits all those who persevere in their living faith. Jesus will come to save us and will transform our lowly bodies to be like his own glorious body.

In today’s Gospel, we see the blessing for Peter and James and John to witness Jesus transfigured. They got a preview of the glory of Jesus risen from the dead. It was also a preview of the glory we all hope to share in heaven. This was a very special grace for Peter and James and John. Through the Mystery of his Transfiguration in the presence of Moses and Elijah, Jesus wanted to show his apostles, ahead of time, the glory of his Resurrection. Having had this experience they would keep these words to undergo the trial of the Cross and the Passion of their Master. We, too, can receive within us the risen Jesus to carry our daily cross. Jesus was accompanied by Moses and Elijah; two pillars of the Old Testament, representing the Law and the Prophets.

The Transfiguration mystery of Jesus defies all explanations. It is an encounter with the divine that is briefly experienced in the context of prayer. The Transfiguration of Jesus that the disciples witnessed was not simply something they were to see and experience only to the Lord Jesus to him alone. It was also an invitation for them to undergo a transformation of their own. By listening to Jesus, listening to all that he invites us to be and to do, It means especially listening to those words of Jesus; It means having total trust in walking in His Way; it means a total trust that only His Way brings us into full union with God, the source of all Truth, Love, Happiness, and Peace.

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