Sunday 12 March 2017

About Today Readings

Sun 12th. Second Sunday of Lent. Gn 12:1-4; 2Tm 1:8-10; Mt 17:1-9.

‘There in their presence Jesus was transfigured: his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light.’ Matthew 17:2

I have only had four memorable mystical moments in my life. These profoundly timeless encounters with the indescribable wonder we call God are the foundations of my faith. And yet, for all the other thousands of days of my life, trying to remain in the love of God is often far from easy. Perhaps this is because Christian love is lived out in real and sometimes difficult situations: feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, walking with the outcasts. Any other sort of following of Christ risks being an illusion, because I will have moved so far from the centre of Jesus’ message. That seems to be what today’s account of the Transfiguration is about. We have to come down from the mountain and continue our journey to Jerusalem. We have to hold together both our profound experiences of the love of God and our daily experiences of brokenness and death. Embracing the reality of our brokenness frees our spirit for deeper union with Jesus. Can I say, with St Francis of Assisi, “Welcome, Sister Death”?
The Gospel readings this coming week will unfold how compassionate, vulnerable service leads to death and resurrection. I am beginning to see with my head how embracing the death of my own dreams might just possibly set me free to embrace the transcendent and to move along a transforming pathway. That’s what Peter does after he comes down the mountain… slow, faltering, searching, humbled, but eventually drawn into the deepest intimacy with Jesus, who never stops loving him. Dorothy Soelle once wrote, “Suffering … can teach us to put forth a greater love.” This seems such a paradox, as if punishment can create love. But punishment and suffering are different: punishment is unnecessary, whereas suffering is a part of the journey of love. Lord, help me through my Lenten journey, with all my faltering, into the realm of divine love.

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