Jesus' Transfiguration reminds us who we are and not to be negative

Homily for the Second Sunday of Lent Year A

by Fr. Tommy Lane

Sometimes we say, “It’s impossible.”
But Jesus says in Luke 18:27, “Things that are impossible for men are possible for God.”

Sometimes we say, “I’m too tired.”
But Jesus says in Matt 11:28 “Come to me all you who labor and are overburdened and I will give you rest.”

Sometimes we say, “Nobody really loves me.”
But in John 3:16 we read that God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.

Sometimes we say, “I can’t go on.”
But Jesus told Paul, “My grace is enough for you: for power is at full stretch in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)

Sometimes we say, “I can’t figure things out.”
But in Prov 20:24 we read that God guides human steps.

Sometimes we say, “I can’t do it.”
But Paul wrote in Phil 4:13, “I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.”

Sometimes we say, “I’m not able.”
But Paul wrote in 2 Cor 9:8, “There is no limit to the blessings which God can send you – he will make sure that you will always have all you need for yourselves in every possible circumstance, and still have something to spare for all sorts of good works.”

Sometimes we say, “I can’t forgive myself.”
But Paul wrote in Rom 8:1, “Those who are in Christ Jesus are not condemned, the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.”

Sometimes we say, “I can’t manage.”
But Paul wrote in Phil 4:19, “God will fulfill all your needs in Christ Jesus as lavishly as only God can.

Sometimes we say, “I’m afraid.”
But in 2 Tim 1:7 we read, “God’s gift was not a spirit of timidity, but the Spirit of power and love and self-control.”

Sometimes we say, “I’m always worried and frustrated.”
But Peter wrote in 1 Pet 5:7, “Unload all your worries onto God since he is looking after you.”

Sometimes we say, “I’m not smart enough.”
But Paul wrote in 1 Cor 1:30 “God has made you members of Christ Jesus and he is our wisdom.”

Sometimes we say, “I feel all alone.”
But in Heb 13:5 God says, “I will never fail or desert you.”

(This encouraging list of Scripture passages has appeared in various sources. I have added the Scripture references and used a uniform translation throughout.)

The transfiguration of Jesus in our Gospel was not just about Jesus. I would like to see it as a vision of the glorious future to which we are all called. But we encounter problems and negativities and we get hurt going through life. Then we have the choice either to say and negative things or we can choose to remember who we really are - brothers and sisters of Jesus, sons and daughters of God since baptism - and that the glory of the transfigured Jesus awaits each of us. We can choose to think in negative ways or to remember the encouragement we receive in Sacred Scripture. In his first letter John writes,

“we are already children of God but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed; all we know is that when it is revealed we shall be like him because we shall see him as he really is.” (1 John 3:2)

“…we shall be like him…” So the glory of the transfigured Jesus is awaiting each of us, thanks to our baptism. So then, for one who believes, there is no room for negative thinking. We may be tempted to think negatively because of events that occur to us, but let us not forget our dignity no matter what happens or no matter what others think of us or say to us.

The second reading today also gives us an insight into what God has destined for us,

“This grace had already been granted to us, in Christ Jesus, before the beginning of time, but it has only been revealed by the Appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim 1:9-10)

God’s grace has been granted to us before the beginning of time. Imagine, since the beginning of time God had you in his plan and had his grace planned for you. Since the beginning of time God planned to transform you through his Son Jesus.

The disciples who experienced Jesus’ transfiguration had to come down the mountain and return to normality but they remembered the transfiguration. Like them we live in normality but we believe and know that God has destined great things for us. We say that the transfiguration prepared the disciples for the scandal of the cross. Celebrating Jesus’ Transfiguration early in Lent reminds us of what comes after the cross because it reminds us of the glory of Jesus risen from the dead. In our worst moments of pain may we not think negatively but remember the encouragement we receive in Sacred Scripture and that God has destined the glory of the transfiguration for each of us in the next life.

Copyright © Fr. Tommy Lane 2013

This homily was delivered when I was engaged in parish ministry in Ireland before joining the faculty of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland.

More homilies for the Second Sunday of Lent Year A

The Transfiguration: Look Beyond Present Pain to the Presence of God

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