Today is the Second Sunday of Lent. Traditionally, it has been known as ” Transfiguration Sunday “. Our Lectionary even provides us with an example of this in today’s Gospel. Jesus went with Peter, John and James up to a high mountain top. There before their own eyes, the three disciples witness Jesus being met by Moses and Elijah and then being transfigured in radiant brilliance. [ Luke 9:28-36 ].
Though the Feast of the Transfiguration is celebrated in August, we pause to consider why it is always mentioned at this time of year during Lent. Perhaps it is meant to be inspirational. Christ knew of the coming dark days of His sorrowful Passion. Perhaps Jesus wanted to provide some evidence to his closest disciples, so they could take comfort and not be despaired or discouraged, but know of His true nature. Perhaps it is meant to be motivational- for us!
For Lent is not only a season of prayer and penitence, but it is a season of preparation. We are preparing for Easter. We are preparing for the glorious Resurrection, and the fulfillment of our Lord’s promise of everlasting life. We are also preparing to make ourselves better Christians. More caring and concerned, more dedicated to others. Preparing to make ourselves more ” Christ-like “, so that we can be more focused on Christ.
Our Lectionary accompanies this concept with a passage from Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians; “ Their destiny is destruction. Their mind is set on earthly things. ” [ Philippians 3:19 ] We become so preoccupied with our ‘day to day’ lives that we loose focus on Christ, His message and His desire that we care for others. Our minds and energies are set on ” earthly things “.
We are given this time, this ” Transfiguration Sunday,” to indeed make a dramatic change in ourselves. We all know, I easily admit that I do, that there are things we can do better- do differently, to do more ” Christ-like,” in our interactions with family and friends, even with strangers. Would it not be a compliment worthy of the disciples themselves, to see our family and friends staring at us strangely with smiles on their faces? Our own inward smile, knowing we just eased a burden or made someone’s Cross lighter to carry? The smile of our Savior, when God sees that we ourselves have been transfigured? That is after all, why we are truly here. So that Christ could be here, and ease the burdens of our family and friends- of strangers- of everyone.
So, it is time for a change! A transfiguration. As is the tradition to give up and forsake something for Lent, as a sacrifice- let us sacrifice a change- to change! Let us take those traits and bad habits, that even we ourselves know in our hearts need to be broken and done away with- and transfigure ourselves into the good and caring Christians that Christ calls our for us to be! After all, look at the sacrifice he made for us- so that we could. It is indeed then- time for a change!
Almighty God. Create within me a new heart- a new spirit- a new resolve. Help me to see the potential that you see within me. I know I can be better than I have been. I know I can do more- help more- love more. Toward my family- toward my friends- toward my neighbors, even for those that I do not know. But most especially, for you! Oh my loving God- strengthen me. Restore me. Renew me. Refresh me. Rebuild me. Transfigure me! Amen!