2nd Sunday of Lent – The Transfiguration
There was a program on TV a couple of years ago called Extreme Makeover. They would take people who had some sort of physical problem – usually a number of physical problems. They might have really crooked teeth, bad skin – maybe they were too big in some places – too small in other places – droopy, saggy, you name it. And they would take them to
And there would be interviews with all the people and they would say things like: “now she’s as beautiful on the outside as she is on the inside.” And the person who had all the work done would say: “I feel like I’ve been give a new life – like that old person doesn’t exist any more!” And you could tell by the way they walked, and the way they carried themselves that something had happened – they were different.
In today’s gospel, Jesus undergoes an extreme makeover – of sorts. He and the apostles had been on their way to
Jesus was telling them – showing them – who he was – showing them his glorified body – perhaps trying to help them understand what was going to happen, but also calling them – and us – to be transformed. He’s calling us to be transfigured – to give our spiritual selves an extreme makeover.
Now I have some bad news – you won’t be flown to
How does this happen? There are some people who talk about dramatic and almost instantaneous conversion experiences – but the more usual way for people like you and me is a slow and gradual journey to God. Some of us who are a bit older might think that our relationship with God is as good as it’s going to get, and we get lazy. Well think about Abram in the first reading. At age 75, he was settled on his land (the land of his family) – things were stable and predictable – but God called him to something greater. The reading says he didn’t hesitate – he got up and left the land of his family and went somewhere else to lead – indeed, to create – a new family – the people of God. He was transformed from Abram to Abraham.
So whether we’re young or old, we are called to be transformed – to bring ourselves closer to God. But like I said, for most of us, this doesn’t happen quickly. And maybe that’s why some of us ignore our relationship with God. When we find that we can’t just go to
Well, if you’ve ever been in loving relationship with a husband or wife, girlfriend or boyfriend, you probably remember that something was necessary for the relationship to begin. You needed to say something to the other person, or they had to say something to you. Now, sometimes these relationships take off like a house afire – kind of like an extreme makeover. Fortunate relationships are able to get past that turmoil and chaos, and mature into relationships that grow slowly and steadily day after day, month after month. And every now and then – even in a mature relationship – there will be experiences that transform – that take the relationship to a higher level: maybe a vacation, a marriage encounter weekend, the birth of a child.
Most people who’ve been married a long time will tell you that the most important ingredient in a good marriage is communication. Our relationship with God is no different. God put us here so that we could have a relationship with him – a relationship that transforms and transfigures us. It’s our highest calling. But just as relationships between husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends don’t grow or even last if there is no communication, we can’t expect our relationship with God to grow without the same sort of communication.
When you talk to some people about their relationship with God, they will tell you that it was never really that great, but then they experience an extreme situation: the death of a parent – a serious illness in a child – loss of a job. It’s strange that it is often these sorts of challenges in our lives that transform our relationship with God in a dramatic way?
But why wait!?! What’s keeping us from transforming ourselves today, and tomorrow – and the next day? I think we often get in our own way. We get so absorbed with ourselves that we forget that everything we have is a gift from God. We are so focused on getting enough for ourselves that we can’t open ourselves to God – we are too important to ourselves to think about God. We need to get out of our own way.
I remember so many times in my life that I pretty much ignored my prayer life. I’d come to mass on Sunday, but for the rest of the week you wouldn’t know that I had a relationship with God or that I even wanted a relationship with God. I had to get to work – I had deadlines. The first thought in my mind when I got up in the morning was getting out the door and off to work as quickly as possible. All of these “me” things were more important than my relationship with God. I was in my own way and I didn’t even know it.
I think it might be easier to have a relationship with God if you could just call God on the phone and have a chat, but you can’t. Still, we can talk to God. I hope that’s why all of you are here today. But if weekend Mass is the only time we talk to God, how can we hope have a relationship that will transform us? Think about how often you call your best friend on the phone (or send text messages). I think some of you remember Father Larry Richards who was here a while ago. Father Larry says that we should pray at least one hour a day. The most important thing we can do in this life is to form ourselves to God – to transform ourselves by forming ourselves to God. I will quote Father Larry: “Prayer is about you submitting your will and your life to the will of your master, who is God.”
It is no accident that we hear about the Transfiguration during Lent. Through almsgiving, fasting, and prayer – we are called to transform our lives.
I know you are all busy, but I would ask all of you to take some time each morning this week and each evening this week to communicate with God in prayer. You may be able to pray for five minutes – maybe even a half hour. A half hour in the morning and a half hour in the evening would get you to the one hour that Father Larry said we should do (at a minimum). You can pray the Rosary, you can read prayers from a prayer book, or you can sit quietly and talk to God.
If you are able to do this for one week, you should be able to see a change in your relationship with God – the beginnings of a transformation – perhaps the beginning of an extreme makeover.