“TO STRENGTHEN THEM FOR COMING STRIFE, OUR SAVIOR CLIMBED THE HEIGHTS WITH PETER, JAMES AND JOHN, HIS FRIENDS, AND SHOWED THEM HEAVEN’S LIGHT… MAY TABOR’S LIGHT AND WONDROUS NEWS SHINE ON OUR LENTEN DAYS…” (A Lent Sourcebook: The Forty days, Book One, p. 138).
Last week we were in the dry atmosphere in the desert. Today, we are on the mountaintop, basking in the glory of the Lord. These two places may seem to be opposed to one another, yet they reveal to us something about the Lord and what we need to discover about Lent.
The desert reminds us that Lent is the time to strip away all that is unnecessary in our lives, like being in the desert without much to eat or drink. The mountain in today’s Gospel reminds us that after Lent there is Easter, and after death there is the new life of eternity. This Gospel gives the apostles and all of us that after the discipline of Lent comes the glory of Easter. Jesus’ encounter with his apostles is meant to instill a sense of hope in all of us that during this serious time of Lent, we have the opportunity to grow in our relationship with God so that we are prepared to celebrate the Great Feast and Season of Easter with heart, mind, body and spirit renewed.
The goal of Lent is always to improve our lives and our relationship with God so that we can better reflect his life in ours. As we attempt to accomplish this, we discover a great deal more about ourselves and the fact that in spite of our sinfulness, God not only loves us but gives us the opportunity to return to him again and again. As we grow in the grace and love of God, we also discover that the wonder of Easter is an ongoing experience of the new life of the Risen Lord. This is what we experience every time we gather around the Lord’s Table to celebrate Eucharist. Eucharist is an encounter with the Lord Jesus who died and rose for us all, as we accept the challenge to be a sign of his life for one another.
While Lent may be the time for sacrifice, prayer, giving of alms and renewal, it is also the time to focus on the Lord Jesus and his death and resurrection. This experience has changed us all, as well as our world. As a result we are called to live as a people renewed, and to bask in the glory of the Lord. The Transfiguration of today’s Gospel reminds us of the hope that Jesus instills in all of us, as he calls us to radiate this hope to all we meet.
Since St. Patrick’s Day occurs on a Friday this year, a day when we are called to abstain from meat, Cardinal Tobin has dispensed all of us from abstaining from meat this year. We are permitted to eat meat on Friday, March 17th in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.
HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!!!
~ FR. JOE!