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Second Sunday of Lent

February 17, 2008

Blessed Sunday!

Father of light,
in You is found no shadow of change
but only the fullness of life and limitless truth.
Open our hearts to the voice of Your Word
and free us from the original darkness that shadows our vision.
Restore our sight that we may look upon Your Son
Who calls us to repentance and a change of heart,
for He lives and reigns with You forever and ever. Amen.

Genesis 12:1-4 (God’s initial call of Abram)
Psalm 33:1, 7-9, 13-14 “Lord, let Your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in You”
2 Timothy 1:8-10 (God calls us to, and equips us for, sacrificial holiness)
+Matthew 17:1-9 (the Transfiguration)

We, with Abram, are on our way to the Promised Land. God has called us out of our homes, away from the familiar, to a new life of greatness and blessing, blessing, blessing. We have been called with Peter, James and John up the mountain of Transfiguration, to contemplate God in all His brilliance. “Lord! How good it is for us to be here!”

Were you listening? Did you hear what Jesus, Moses and Elijah were discussing? There’s going to be a new Exodus, this one in Jerusalem. It’s the one Jesus was just talking about, when He said that He’s about to suffer greatly at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the scribes and be put to death; the one He followed up by saying that anyone who wants to come after Him must deny himself, take up his cross and follow in His footsteps.

Moses certainly has plenty of experience with exodus, with persecution, resistance and broken promises from a cruel tyrant who pursued God’s chosen people to his death (see Exodus 5-14). Elijah, too, knows what it’s like to face down a blood-thirsty queen, to flee for his life, and to spend years in hiding (I Kings 17-19, II Kings 2:1). The road to freedom always runs through some form of crucifixion.

As appealing as Mt. Tabor is, as wonderful as it would be to stay in this splendor forever, this is only a preview. Up here, where solitude and prayer have cleared the air, we can see Reality in all its splendor. We must keep this brilliance clear in our hearts as we continue our journey to another mountain to bear our “share of the hardship which the Gospel entails” (II Timothy 1:8). There God’s glory–just as real–will be obscured by blood, sweat and tears. There a crowd on the verge of rioting will cry out, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”. There, despite all appearances, “He will make justice dawn for you like the light; bright as the noonday shall be your vindication” (Psalm 37:6). The covenant will be fulfilled, the exodus from the slavery of sin to the freedom of the sons of God completed. The grace that God has been holding out to us through Christ since before the dawn of time will be brought to light (see II Timothy 1:9-10)..

And the brightness of Jesus’ Body in the Transfiguration? That’s what we have to look forward to when God restores our glorified, perfected bodies to us to us at the end of time…on the other side of the cross.

May the light of the Transfiguration strengthen us for the hardships of the coming Good Friday.

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