Readings for today: Genesis 12:1-4; 2 Timothy 1:8-10; Matthew 17:1-9
He has saved us and called us to a holy life — not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.
The gospel for the second Sunday of Lent tells the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus. The word transfiguration means “a complete change of form or appearance into a more beautiful or spiritual state”, and how true it is when we finally come to know Jesus, see Him face to face, and see the beauty in His word and action.
Despite the fact that I am a cradle Catholic (i.e. born and raised Catholic), I never fully understood my relationship to Christ until very recently. I spent 13 years in Catholic school – an environment that one would assume is conducive to living out your faith – and went to mass every Sunday with my family. I went to some Catholic youth events and prayed from time to time, but for a long time I felt that it was just out of habit, out of necessity, and out of fear that I did all these things. Because the last thing I wanted was to be at the gates of heaven, only to be denied entry because I was a bad person while I was still alive.
This idea of being a “bad person” ate me up inside, to the point where I questioned and doubted my faith and God’s love for me. There have been many occasions where I fell and failed – many things that I am definitely not proud of. Whether it be word or action, my faith was constantly tested to the point where I would be denying my faith. I denied to anyone who asked, and I wouldn’t defend when people said choice things about the Church or Catholicism. Years and years of spiritual drought and doubt led me to all kinds of temptation, problems, and ultimately as a broken person, to the point where I had thought countless times of committing suicide because I didn’t deem myself worthy of saving.
Going to seek reconciliation and going back to my church community didn’t seem like a good way to solve my problems. I didn’t feel as Catholic as the person sitting beside me in the pew or the person that offered me a sign of peace during mass.
It wasn’t until I was at my lowest point that Christ found a way to lift me out of this darkness. For the longest time I had known Him and I had feared Him. But Jesus took me by the hand, took me up the mountain, and before my eyes transfigured into who He always had been – I was just too blind to see it. He transfigured from someone who I feared, to someone who I desired.
This process wasn’t overnight by any means, but rather a collection of events that culminated into my saying “yes” to Him and His love.
The quote at the beginning of this reflection comes from St. Paul’s second letter to Timothy. This is indeed the simplest and most profound truth, and a complete summary of the Gospel and why Jesus died for us. He didn’t just come to save the rich, the righteous, and the mighty. He also came for sinners, for the broken, and for the weak.
Due to original sin, we are all stuck under the weight of our weakness and brokenness. But because God so loved the world, He gave us His only son so that we might not die, but live with Him forever (John 3:16). He didn’t really have to do anything, but He showed the most awesome display of love in the most human way possible: He came to us in ordinary human form to show us His extraordinary love.
He came for You. I say You with a capital Y because yes, He came for the world. But He also came for You. He loves you and wants to know you intimately. If you were the only one on the earth, He still would have died on the cross for you.
No matter what you have done in the past or how broken you feel you are, I encourage you to run – not walk – up that mountain and allow yourself to have your perspective of Jesus changed. He doesn’t want you to fear Him, He wants you to be open to Him and know Him.
Be with Jesus on that mountain today.
(lead image from http://communio.stblogs.org/index.php/tag/transfiguration/).