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Transfigurative Moments


 

“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,

how will he not also give us everything else along with him?

. . . Christ Jesus it is who died – rather, was raised –

who also is at the right hand of God,

who indeed intercedes for us.”  

 

From The First Reading Romans 8:31b-34

       From the low places to high, last Sunday’s Gospel focused on Jesus’ 40-day retreat in the desert, and this Sunday’s Gospel, his transfiguration on a mountain top. There is debate as to which mountain the Transfiguration took place; most believe it was on Mt. Tabor which is closer to Nazareth than other possibilities, such as Mt. Hermon. Regardless, mountaintops, like deserts, are isolated places where the distractions of people and commerce fade away as one enters into communion with the presence of God. Moses experienced God’s presence on Mt. Horeb, as did Elijah who also found refuge there when he concluded his 40-day pilgrimage escaping the evil Queen Jezebel’s wrath only to discover God’s presence in the still, quiet voice that guided and consoled him. They both appear on the mountaintop with Jesus, representing the law and the prophets, who are comforted by their presence as well as by the voice of the Father who admonished his apostles to “listen to him”.


     The first reading from Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18 jars our sensibilities. It was in a high place that Abraham was asked to do the unthinkable – sacrifice his son Isaac as a holocaust. At the last moment, an angel intervenes only to tell Abraham that this is a test of his faith and obedience. Because he passed this test, the Lord would offer great blessings of descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and sand on the shore.


     The second reading from Romans 8:31b-34 reminds us that whatever struggle we are facing, whatever the temptation or weakness we are confronting in our Lenten pilgrimage, we know that the power of God can overcome any force of evil we are experiencing. Paul who challenges us to find strength in God’s grace despite our weaknesses, makes a case that with God for us, at our side, any power against us will not prevail. Let us remember the transformative moments when in prayer or in awe of a beautiful sunset we have been overcome by the subtle presence of God. May these transfigurative moments give us the strength to endure any trials that may come our way.

 

 

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