My brothers and sisters in Christ,
During this season of Lent we are on a spiritual journey. And our Lenten journey is meant to be a symbol for us, a reminder of the meaning of our Christian life.
From the moment we are baptized, we are sent into this world — just as Jesus was driven into the desert after his baptism. That’s why last Sunday, we began our Lenten journey by reliving Jesus’ temptation in the desert. This was to show us that just as Jesus did, each one of us must struggle against the devil and his temptations; each one of us has to reject sin and to turn to God.
Every Lent begins with this story of Jesus’ temptation in the desert. And every year on the second Sunday of Lent, we hear the Gospel story of the Transfiguration.
So in the Gospel we have just heard, we climb the high mountain with Jesus and his three disciples, Peter, James and John. With them, we become witnesses to his Transfiguration.
By his Transfiguration, Jesus today is giving us a beautiful glimpse of our destiny and our “destination.” He is showing us what our earthly pilgrimage is leading us to. For just a brief moment, we get to see the “goal” of our Christian lives.
The Transfiguration is a sign of Jesus’ resurrection. And his Transfiguration is a promise of our own resurrection.
As we heard, it is really an amazing scene. Jesus leads his disciples to the mountaintop and before their eyes his face starts to shine like the sun. His clothes became as “white as light.” Then Moses and Elijah appear and start talking to Jesus.
Moses, of course, is the great lawgiver of Israel, and Elijah was a great prophet. In their lives, both of them had the experience of going up on a mountain and having a glorious encounter with God.
In the Transfiguration, Moses and Elijah are meant to symbolize the Law and the Prophets. They are there to testify to the disciples — and to us — that Jesus is the Messiah. That Jesus is the One who fulfills everything that God was promising in the Old Testament.
That is why Moses and Elijah vanish at the end of the scene. Because with the coming of Jesus, the Law and the Prophets are fulfilled. All we need is Jesus who shows us the face of God.
And the Transfiguration reveals to us the mystery of the Holy Trinity. The Holy Spirit comes in the form of a cloud and overshadows the mountain. And out of this cloud, the Father’s voice speaks and declares, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him!”
My brothers and sisters, these are great words of hope and encouragement for us today. God our Father has given us his own beloved Son — to be with us, to teach us, and to intercede for us.
That’s why we also hear the story of Abraham and his beloved son Isaac in our first reading today. Because Abraham trusted God so completely, so totally — that he did not withhold from God his only beloved son.
This is not easy for us to understand, how a father could agree to sacrifice his only son!
But we know that Abraham believed that God could give life to the dead, and so he put his hope in God and by his faith he gave glory to God.
And Abraham, through his love and obedience, shows us the perfect image of God’s love and God’s passion for our salvation.
That is what St. Paul is talking about in today’s second reading. St. Paul tells us: “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all.”
My brothers and sisters, what a beautiful love God has for us!
God loves each one of us so much that he is willing to hand over his only Son to suffer and to die for us.
We need to love God as he has loved us — by giving all of ourselves to him, as Christ gave himself up for us.
So today let us ask for the grace to make ourselves more worthy of his great love for us — through our faithful practice of our Lenten disciplines; through our sacrifices and our penances and through our prayer and almsgiving.
Let us look to Abraham as our father in faith. Let us live with his same faith. Let us live with his same confidence in our Father’s love.
So we need to examine ourselves today. What are we still holding back from God? What do we have in our lives that is getting in the way? That is stopping us from giving ourselves completely to God?
My brothers and sisters, let’s not hold anything back from God!
At the end of the Transfiguration today, the disciples found themselves looking around. And as we heard, they “no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them.”
This is a beautiful message for us, my brothers and sisters. Jesus alone is with us too. And he is the only One we need.
Jesus is with us when we are afraid and when we are suffering. He is with us when sometimes we cannot feel God’s presence or his love. He is with us when we are having difficulty finding purpose in our lives.
And if Jesus is with us — if God is for us, who can be against us?
So let us take great strength and encouragement from these readings today. Let us take up our cross daily and follow him more closely during this Lenten season.
We know that Jesus had to suffer and die in order to enter into his glory.
Today in his Transfiguration, he is promising us that if we journey with him, if we follow him with true devotion, he will change our lowly bodies to be like his glorious body, in the resurrection.
So let us ask Mary, Mother of God’s only beloved Son, to help us to listen to his Word and to follow his example, so that on our earthly pilgrimage, our lives may be transfigured by the light of his presence.