Today’s gospel talks about the journey that Jesus made Peter, James and John take when he led them up to a high mountain. Soon Jesus was transfigured in front of the disciples. “His clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.”(Mark 9:2-10). Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus.
The Transfiguration brings out certain messages that Jesus wants to tell us during this second Sunday of Lent. The first message would be purity and the repeated invitation to turn away from temptation and fight it with prayer and reflection during this season. Most of our hearts are not pure white as it is stained with the blackness of our sins. Therefore, to be made pure is to not be afraid of sins, but to be sincere in making amends even though it may seem hopeless at times.
The second theme would be to make a place for Jesus in all aspects of our lives that he should be the first priority among other areas. It is stated that, “Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” The three tents represent the areas that we need to let Jesus in and to let him take control. This is especially true in our families and studies where prayer is a powerful way to lift up our needs.
The third theme would be the voice of God that proclaims, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” How many times in our lives do we fail to listen to the teachings of the church and to follow Jesus. He calls us by name this Lenten period to listen to his voice and harden not our hearts.
The last theme would be rising from the dead. It does not refer to physical rising of the dead but the rising from our new self and being new again, rather then turning back to our old self. Being spiritually awake is also important in being witnesses to the glory of God and to do his will if we seek it with all sincerity.
I remember that back when I had the privilege to travel, my parents brought me to Cameron Highlands in Malaysia. The ride up was a steep and winding route up. As I marveled at the beauty of nature, I knew that the view at the peak of the mountain was beautiful and I was right, the air was fresh and the cool breeze against your face was simply refreshing. I reckon that the transfiguration was so many times better and a supernatural sight to behold.
Also, while I was waiting at the bus stop after church, I saw a Catholic religious nun waiting for the bus, and she was holding onto a card holder with her bus card and very few things. It was a sign that I should let go of all the excess baggage and not place so much expectations on myself so as to stop being so materialistic and to live within my means.
I can only pray to be transfigured by Jesus by reading the word of God, reflecting on the word and responding to him in complete faith and reverence. My cross is heavy but I know that Jesus’ cross is the heaviest of all as he is carrying the weight of all our sins on the journey to Calvary. The rising of the dead pinpoints to a message which is the resurrection – the ability to wake to our new self and die to our old self.
In the recent week of Christian leadership sharing by the SIM-CS community , it was shared that we are called to “Fast from pride and feast on humility” Many of us carry the sin of pride which is to be like God where we become self-centred and selfish to have the mentality that we are the new bosses. It is crucial to not try to be God but to emulate his characteristics which is a caring and understanding God with a heart of compassion.
We were also introduced the Litany of Humility that was written by Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930), the secretary of state for Pope Saint Pius X. The Litany tell us that even when the world does not see our achievements and our efforts go to waste, Jesus sees it all and he knows that we are struggling but he struggles with us as he is our Father and we his beloved children.
I pray that Jesus give me the strength and faith to carry my cross the coming weeks as I will face more workload and demands from the education system. Jesus, please walk with me and guide me to your resting waters where I can rest and be revived as I continue to take up my cross, walking beside you, every step of the way.
We continue to pray with Pope Francis for his intentions for the month of March, “That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person” and “That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.”
God Bless! and in the humble words of St John the Baptist, “Lord grow greater in me and let me grow smaller.” Amen.
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong