The most difficult times can produce the greatest spiritual blessings. God truly knows just what we need at every moment!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Second Sunday of Lent - Cycle C

Genesis 15, 5-12. 17-18; Psalm 27; Philippians 3, 17-4, 1; St. Luke 9, 28-36

As a missionary during my 16 years in Africa I sometimes experienced very touching situations. I remember one time when some African Christians were sitting in a village for a retreat. The subject was how to best spread the Gospel. Various methods were suggested running from literature and brochures, to videos, to radio announcements. Finally a young woman arose and she said, "When we judge that a pagan village is ready for the Lord Jesus, the first people we send in is a Christian family. It is their lives that will inspire the villagers to think seriously about becoming Christian. They are better than a hundred books or videos or radio announcements. They will be the keyhole through which others will see the Lord Christ. To spread the word and help the growth of the Church, Christians must not so much promote as attract." The woman's views carried the day.

As Albert Schweitzer, who was a superb "keyhole" or revelation to others by his own life, testified, "Example is not the main thing. It is the only thing."

There is a Christian proverb saying: “verba movent sed exempla trahunt” – which translated means,: “words move us, but examples attract and fascinate.”

"It’s also valid today in our daily lives. The best we can do in order to spread the message of Christ is to live our lives in such a way so that others can see God through us as they peek through the keyhole which is revealing how we live our lives."

The Lord "took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white." (Lk 9. 28-29) Why does the Lord reveal his glory to the Apostles in this way?

St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that this grace was given to strengthen the Apostles for the Cross which was to come by giving them a glimpse of the Resurrection which would be purchased only by the blood shed upon the Cross.

The transformation or transfiguration of Jesus that the disciples experienced was not simply something they were to see and experience as happening to him alone.
It was also an invitation for them to undergo a transformation and transfiguration of their own.

Like the Christ of today's Gospel, we too must become transfigured or transformed. The Teacher is saying to us, "Do not dwell on my Transfiguration overly long today. Rather, continue or perhaps begin to work on your own transfiguration." Christ is betting on each one of us here to become an attractive "keyhole through which others will see the Lord Christ.”

For me it was few weeks ago that I realized that there is a necessity of a constant transfiguration or rather transformation in my life. After Mass one Sunday, a young nine year old girl with a sunny smile came up to me and gave me a letter. I took the letter, I said thank you and put the letter into my pocket. A few hours later I opened it … and I was struck by the message enclosed in it. This is what I read and what I share with you today:
I realized that this child is a messenger from God telling me that I have to take some serious steps in my life to change it, to be serious, trustworthy and able to say something meaningful in my homilies.

What have I done in my life besides unfolding beautiful stories in my homilies? This child showed me that I have to constantly transform my words into actions. God is inviting you also to do the same.

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