Today's Gospel, taken from Mark 9:2-10, speaks about the transfiguration of Christ. During the homily, the priest discussed two revelations from this story. First is the true identity of Christ, His divine nature. It was one strong proof that Jesus is not just an ordinary man. He is God. The second revelation is the glorified or resurrected Christ, symbolic of the reality that after every sorrow comes victory. Then the priest talked about responsibilities. At first I didn't see the connection, but now that I'm blogging about it, I had a better understanding. :) Just like Jesus, we have our own responsibilities. These responsibilities are entrusted to us by God. But as we fulfill these responsibilities and encounter difficulties along the way, to whom do we rely for help? From whom do we draw our strength? There is no better source of strength than the One from which those responsibilities came. It was God the Father who sent Jesus to a very important mission, it was also God the Father who gave Jesus the strength and the courage to fulfill that mission.
It is also the same reality that we are to embrace. Sacrifices, challenges, and difficulties are part of our lives. They are crosses that we need to carry everyday. Human as we are, we tend to bend and fall sometimes. We have our weaknesses, and no matter how hard we try to be strong, there will always be times when we stumble and fail. But just like Jesus, all we need to do is go back to the Father who will generously grant us the grace to continue in our journey and overcome whatever obstacle that comes our way. Let us accept responsibility not for anything else, but simply for the reason that it came from the Lord, and it is the Lord who will give us everything we need to perform it. Let our reason be love and let our hope be the resurrection, the glory that awaits us when all is through. :)
Have a blessed Sunday everyone! :)
Updated on the eve of March 4.
I just want to share this beautiful reflection which was discussed during our household this afternoon. I found out it's a homily from Mary the Queen Parish. Thank God there's online archiving nowadays. :)
Jesus knows that he will suffer and die on the cross, and that the Father will raise him up three days after. In the first half of the gospel of Mark, we could see that Jesus spoke three times of his suffering, death, and rising after three days, but the disciples failed to understand this. Scandalized, they could not accept that the Messiah must suffer and die in humiliation to save humanity. Peter even scolded Jesus when he spoke of his impending death on the cross (Mark 8:32).
Jesus then decided to reveal to them what life is after the cross. He brought Peter, James, and John to the mountain to experience what's ahead of those who faithfully carry their crosses: a glimpse of resurrection via transfiguration. Unfortunately, the one and only way to resurrection is the way of the cross.
When they reached the mountain and Jesus started praying to the Father, his clothes became dazzling white! Elijah and Moses appeared and the disciples heard the words of a proud Father, "This is my beloved Son, LISTEN TO HIM." The words of the Father are actually the synthesis of the life of Jesus – listening to and obeying the Father.
Jesus is like us in all things except sin. He knows fear, anger, being abandoned, betrayed by friends, insulted by many, and misunderstood by his disciples and family. During those moments where Jesus could already sense his impending suffering and death, he needed to come to the Father and listen without any reservation. He knows that the Father is the only one who can give him strength and courage.
Unfortunately, the disciples misunderstood the transfiguration experience. The disciples were thrilled with the transfiguration's triumphant mood. Peter even said, "Let us make tents here!" They just wanted to stay in the mountain in the company of Moses and Elijah. They did not want to go to Jerusalem. They were reluctant to carry their daily crosses as Jesus commanded them.
During Lent, we love praying the Way of the Cross, but we don't want to live it. Sometimes we are tempted to say, "Lord, can we skip the Good Friday and go straight to Easter?" But life is not like that. There's no genuine Easter celebration without faithfully undergoing our Good Fridays. Reality bites. We can't run away from our daily trials. The more we run away from our cross, it becomes heavier. But when we embrace it, it becomes lighter! That's the irony of the cross. Stand up for Jesus. Carry your cross. It's your "grace-filled" opportunity to share in Jesus' Paschal mystery.
Transfiguration is a glimpse of what's ahead of us to encourage us to hold on and faithfully carry our daily trials and crosses in life. Follow the footsteps of Jesus. Faithfully go to your mountain (prayer time) and LISTEN TO THE FATHER. Those who earnestly seek God in prayer will never be disappointed. God will give them courage, strength, and hope to face their crosses – that's transfiguration!
This Lenten Season, don't just pray the Way of the Cross. Live it!
Victory awaits ahead of us.