Saturday, February 23, 2013

Second Sunday of Lent

In previous postings, the suggestions has been made "Get it over with.  Do it now."  It is the suggestion to make the Easter Duty incumbent upon Catholics early in Lent rather than let it hang over us until the days of the Sacred Triduum or even later until we are in the days of the Easter Season.  Why?  So that our focus can be on Jesus and what he seeks to do for us is why.  Focus on Jesus and what he did for us in those latter days of his life among the people of God on this earth.  Focus on Jesus, my friend.

In today's Gospel we recount the experience of the Transfiguration.  Often our mind is drawn to the mystery and wonder of such an event.  However, there are related events in the days of this mysterious event which allow us to better understand what our friend is teaching his disciples and all who come along the journey of time.  

Let's insert an experience many of us encounter in our own lives.  We ourselves or our friends or even someone we do not personally know but whose life is known to us realize within the soul there is a spirit calling them and/or us to a higher challenge.  It is often an invitation to greatness albeit not understood as such in its early stages.  I have come to know remarkable priests and bishops along with other men and women encountered on my journey of faith.  It is in looking at their lives that one can eventually see that these extraordinary human beings have their minds and hearts set on something far beyond the earthly realities of comfort, ambition and competition.  These men and women keep their mind on the end result.  This is what our friend, Jesus, is trying to teach the disciples as he makes his way to his final days in Jerusalem.  Is it not similar to the lives of so many younger men and women who take up the uniform of one of our USA armed forces?  They stand up for what they feel in their hearts.  They focus their lives on an intangible reality ... pride in their country and its treasured freedoms no matter what the cost. 

On this second Sunday of Lent, the gospel presented to us calls us to see that our friend, your friend and mine, Jesus, is determined to accomplish his mission in life, fulfilling his Father's will for him.  Many would take the bright, shining moment of the Transfiguration as the end of the mission.  And that might have been correct except that Jesus knew it was not.  He had more to do than to let this extraordinary moment prevent him from the moment when he would be "taken up."  He would not fall short of his Father's will for him even though it 
meant that being "taken up" would involve torture and crucifixion.

What an extraordinary friend this Jesus is!  How powerful is his determination to go forward to his ultimate goal!  Look at that reality as St. Luke expresses it for us in his gospel account.  I am looking at a man who knew his goal, giving his very life as an act of obedience and service to his Father's will.  There is no one who can teach us what it means to say "I am living my life in response to a higher call."  It is a power buried deep within our souls.  It is something that we know we have to do.  His was a constant mindset to his "mission."  Moments  when adulation came his way and the misguided hopes of some followers for a temporal kingship would have been much easier. Rather he accepted whatever was required to live the life God asked of him, his own Son.

So, my friends, do you see better today the gift Jesus is to all of us on our journey of faith?  How blessed we are that we can see powerful example he is giving to us throughout his life.  Seek!  Seek!  Seek the ability to live every day, every hour of your life in conformity with the will of God for you, your ultimate accomplishment.

To return to the first sentence:  "Get it over with.  Do it now."  When hearts are wrestling with sinfulness, it is impossible to see the goodness of Jesus.  Freed from those worries and concerns, our minds and hearts open to all the wonder and power that is in our friend, my friend, your friend, Jesus.  Don't cheat yourself of knowing his goodness.