05 Editorial - Triumph of the Transfiguration - Fr Anthony Charanghat

posted Mar 13, 2019, 10:28 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 13, 2019, 10:29 AM ]
The Second Sunday in Lent spotlights the harmonious blend of fear and faith that form the triumph of the Transfiguration episode. It is so unlike our TV news telecast that focuses on divisive and destructive fear and anger to counter the menace of terrorism. Politicians are quick to interject, "Vote for me, and I will protect you." While we appreciate the promises and the need for a strong national defence, we know such hope is illusory. There is no evidence to guarantee lasting success, that there will be no 14/02 or suicide bombing, if we rely solely on failed human endeavours.

This Sunday's liturgy is of the Transfiguration, because the Gospel recounts this mystery of Jesus' mission of the Messiah. After Jesus had foretold His Passion to the disciples, "He took with Him Peter, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to pray. And He was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became white as light" (Lk 9:28-36). The disciples briefly glimpsed an even more intense splendour—that of the divine glory of Jesus which illumines the whole paradox of salvation.

The Gospel tells us that beside the transfigured Jesus, "there appeared Moses and Elijah, talking with Him"; Moses and Elijah, figures of the Law and of the Prophets. It was then that Peter, ecstatic, exclaimed, "Lord, it is wonderful to be here; I will make three tents here; one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah." But we have only one dwelling place, Christ: He is the Word of God, the Word of God in the Law and in the Prophets that will sustain us in our exodus to the Risen Lord.

In fact, the Father Himself proclaims: "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him." The Transfiguration is not a change in Jesus, but the revelation of His divinity: "the profound interpenetration of His being with God, which then becomes pure light. In His oneness with the Father, Jesus is Himself 'light from light'." (Jesus of Nazareth)

Peter, James and John, contemplating the divinity of the Lord, are ready to face the scandal of the Cross, after the experience of the power of prayer in this mountaintop spirituality symbolised in Scripture. They, too, are transfigured there, and are unafraid to go down to the valley of daily life, as they listen to the voice of the Father and understand the path to His glory. They acquire a new perception and divine vision, so that on seeing Him crucified, they would understand that His Passion was voluntary, and proclaim to the world the true splendour of grace and glory.

Let us too share in this vision and in this supernatural gift, making room for prayer, and for listening to the Word of God, especially in this Season of Lent, as Paul exhorts us to respond to the divine precept of penitence by some voluntary act, apart from the renunciation imposed by the burdens of everyday life, as our homeland is in heaven.

Let us not be afraid. But let us respond with hope and courage to the struggles of day to day life, to global uncertainty, to changing demographics and their impact on the Church, to shrinking budgets, and our own institutional scandals. Our faith, like the Apostles, urges us to be part of God's story of glory and help heal the world.

'The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?' God lives and will have the final word. We can trust God, because God will outlast every enemy. Let us invoke the Virgin Mary so that she may help us always to listen to and follow the Lord Jesus, even to the Passion and the Cross, in order to also participate in His Risen glory.