March 8, 2020
Second Sunday of Lent (Year A)
Readings for Today
Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. Matthew 17:1–2
What a fascinating line above: “white as light.” How white is something that is “white as light?”
On this the second week of Lent, we are given the hopeful image of Jesus being transfigured before the eyes of Peter, James and John. They witness a small glimpse of His eternal glory and radiance as the Son of God and the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity. They are stunned, in awe, amazed and filled with the greatest joy. Jesus’ face shines like the sun and His clothing is so white, so pure, so radiant that they shine as the brightest and most pure light imaginable.
Why did this happen? Why did Jesus do this and why did He permit these three Apostles to see this glorious event? And to ponder further, why do we reflect upon this scene in the beginning of Lent?
Simply put, Lent is a time to examine our lives and to see our sins most clearly. It’s a time we are given each year to pause from the confusion of life and to reexamine the road we are on. Looking at our sins can be hard. It can be depressing and can tempt us to depression, hopelessness and even despair. But the temptation to despair must be overcome. And it is not overcome by ignoring our sin, rather, it is overcome by turning our eyes to the power and glory of God.
The Transfiguration is an event given to these three Apostles to give them hope as they prepare to face the suffering and death of Jesus. They are given this glimpse of glory and hope as they prepare to see Jesus embrace their sins and endure the consequences.
If we face sin without hope, we are doomed. But if we face sin (our sin) with a remembrance of Who Jesus is and what He has done for us, then facing our sin will lead us not into despair but into victory and glory.
As the Apostles looked on and saw Jesus transfigured, they heard a voice from Heaven say, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him” (Mt. 17:5b). The Father spoke this of Jesus, but He also desires to speak it of each one of us. We need to see in the Transfiguration the end and goal of our lives. We need to know, with the deepest conviction, that the Father desires to transform us into the whitest light, lifting all sin, and bestowing upon us the great dignity of being a true son or daughter of Him.
Reflect, today, upon your sin. But do so as you also reflect upon the transfigured and glorious nature of our divine Lord. He came to bestow this gift of holiness on each one of us. This is our calling. This is our dignity. This is who we must become, and the only way to do so is to allow God to cleanse us of every sin in our lives and to draw us into His glorious life of grace.
My transfigured Lord, You shone in radiance before the eyes of Your Apostles so that they could testify to the beauty of the life to which we are all called. During this Lent, help me to face my sin with courage and confidence in You and in Your power to not only forgive but to also transform. My I die to sin more deeply than ever before so as to share more fully in the glory of Your divine life. Jesus, I trust in You.
40 Days at the Foot of the Cross – Reflection Eleven – Living in Exile
Saint John of God, Religious
Not celebrated as a liturgical memorial this year since it falls on Sunday