The Gospel last Sunday, second Sunday of Lent, was about the transfiguration of Jesus in front of His three close friends and disciples. In a miraculous way, He was seen by his disciples talking to Moses and Elijah, holy men of long ago who died centuries before. It was, indeed, a supernatural experience for the three mortal men, Peter, James and John, that’s why Peter carelessly wished that they remain on that blessed state and never return to where they came from! It is good that we are here, he uttered, and that feeling of the divine made him forget about everything in his human life and he forgot even about his family.
The transfiguration experience was an extraordinary thing for the disciples and it was just like a foretaste of the life of heaven. Peter understandably wanted to remain in that moment and wished that time would freeze for them.
However, in the mind of Jesus, He knew all along that all their wishes cannot be accepted not because Jesus was a pessimist but because He’s got a mission to accomplish, the salvation of souls and the entire human race! The cup of suffering was always in His mind because that was the purpose of His incarnation.
The story of the Transfiguration of Jesus was a story of a transformation. In front of His disciples, His clothes became dazzlingly white and soon after, men of long ago appeared with Him. It was an experience of a transformation from being human to being divine! It is an experience where the disciples saw for themselves a glimpse of the redeemed state of man. The sinful men saw for themselves the life of grace promised by the Lord to those who would be willing to be with Him, united in Him, and who are ready to suffer with Him in bearing the cross on their own shoulders.
The transfiguration of Jesus was an invitation for all of us to work hard for our own transformation and renewal. It is a very inspiring story that must get us all started to renew our own lives. If today we are on our wretched sinful state, the transfiguration story must push us all to achieve that same apostolic experience of the Divine Life. We all must try to forget our dirty selves saturated in sin and mistakes and rise above to a better and dazzling life of grace.
After the breath-taking experience, they needed to go down from the mountaintop and face once more the reality of life and the real world to where they belonged. Peter, James and John may have felt lonely and blue because they did not understand that Christ needed to finish that task that the Father gave Him. Their frustration was a product of their ignorance about the mission of the Messiah and a result of their spurned wish to be freed from all their problems and pains in their daily life. Their dreams and ambitions dwindled away with Christ’s decision to come down and go back to the reality of human existence.
In saving the whole creation, Jesus will have to walk His way to Calvary with the sins of all the people on His shoulders. He will soon face death on a Cross as the only way for all humanity to be saved. The disciples failed to look at the whole picture and so they did not understand.
Most of us are just like those three disciples. We want an easy life even if the manner to have such a dream-life would mean engaging in some illegal activities and immoral practices. We want to enjoy all the luxuries in this life even if we will have to deceive and be unjust to our brothers and sisters. All these worldly enticements are tools of Satan and so we are deceived to accept them as genuine sources of joy when, in fact, they are sources of our destruction and damnation.
We, too, have our own mission in life because we all share in the mission of Christ. Our mission is not to bring the people to their experience of the transfiguration but rather to make them experience heaven here on earth. Our mission is to help people, even in their own pains and problems, appreciate life and always trust in God’s grace and hope in His promise that one day we will come to the full realization of the Divine Life that He always wanted to share with us.
It is in sharing God’s love to our brothers and sisters that we can make other people experience heaven on earth. In heaven, angels and saints do not have to work for their own. They do not have to feed themselves for they are spirits. All they do is to love and give glory to God. Heaven is a state where love abounds and, if we can only share this divine love to our brothers and sisters, we are sharing in the mission of Christ and we are fulfilling our mission in our own little ways.
Our mission is to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and those who are imprisoned. There will be times when we will have to go the extra mile of our benevolence and generosity, but still, we need to silently do everything for them not because we want to be proclaimed as saints and martyrs, but because it is our mission here on earth as Christians. This is the meaning of our Christian life and Christian perfection. The call to discipleship must lead us to cross of Christ and share in His sufferings and death. Our acceptance of this cross of Christ is our own way of sharing His love to our little brothers and sisters who need our love, care and attention.
A blessed Lenten season to everyone!