March 12, 2017 Click on the left end of the black bar to play/pause
March 12, 2017
Matthew 17: 1-9
Fr. George Smiga
Every year on the second Sunday of Lent, we have the story of the transfiguration of Jesus. The Jesus that the disciples knew, the Jesus whom they followed throughout his ministry, was changed before their eyes. His face shone like the sun. His clothes were as white as light. But as many stories in the gospel, today’s gospel story is not just about Jesus. It is also about us. The gospel does not only tell us that Jesus was changed, but promises us that we can change as well. On the mount of the transfiguration, the person of Jesus was revealed in a deeper and fuller way. This gospel assures us that we can grow in a deeper and fuller way to become the person that God wants us to be.
Now this is an important message, because all too often we conclude that we cannot change. As we get older, we begin to suppose that we are the way we are and nothing can be different. Especially if we have tried to change ourselves in the past and were unsuccessful, we can easily draw the conclusion that we will never be able to be the person that God wants us to be.
When we start thinking in this way, it’s important for us to remember the words that Jesus tells the disciples in today’s gospel. “Rise. Do not be afraid”. We might have a problem in our family. A son or a daughter who has greatly disappointed us, a in-law who always irritates us. And as hard as we try to push past those feelings, they keep rising up every time we think of the person. So we say to ourselves, “This is it. I will always be this way.” Jesus says, “Don’t say always. You can find the ability to forgive”.
We might for a long time carry a prejudice, viewing people of a certain race or sexual orientation negatively, seeing somebody at work or in politics unfavorably. We know that our opinion is extreme and unfair, and yet we cannot shake it. So we say to ourselves, “What’s the use? I’ll never win this battle.” Jesus says, “Don’t give up. I’m not finished with you yet”.
Maybe our whole life, we have prided ourselves on our independence, on our ability to take care of ourselves and to help others. But now we are growing older and developing health problems. We know that we are not able to care for ourselves as we should. But we cannot reach out to ask for help. We say to ourselves, “I cannot set my pride aside and ask others for what I need.” Jesus says to us, “Your life is changing. Wouldn’t it make sense now to let the people that you helped help you? Rise. Do not be afraid.”
Jesus was changed on the mount of transfiguration. We can change by the power of God. Even though we have failed to change in the past, today is a new possibility. Because today Jesus reaches out to transfigure us.