Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18; Ps 27:1, 7-9; 13-14; Philippians 3:20-4:1; Luke 9:28b-36
Following my Lenten theme of getting closer to Jesus are some insights from today’s readings that can help us. God told Abraham if he was faithful that God would make his descendants more numerous that the stars in the sky. Then St. Paul reminds us that our citizenship is from heaven. God wants to continue his work in us of making us more like Jesus. In heaven we shall have a new body like the glorious body of Jesus as we see in the Gospel today.
It seems to me that the emphasis of our faith since the end of Vatican Council II is more on the resurrection of Jesus rather than his passion. For instance, at funeral Masses, we no longer wear black vestments nor purple but white. This reminds us of our heavenly calling.
The transfiguration gospel today can be a very powerful image for us, as it was for Peter, John and James. Before his suffering and death, Jesus took these special apostles and was transfigured before them, talking with Moses and Elijah. They were so shocked. Jesus wanted to strengthen them for what he had to do to take away the sins of the entire human race, thus bringing his followers into his new kingdom. It is helpful to meditate on this powerful scene. The more we do, the brighter the light of Jesus will grow in us. We need to pray more, asking the Holy Spirit to guide and transform us.
Psalm 27 also helps guide us to the new transformed body we shall have after we leave our current body and step into eternity. We are being transformed by the trials and suffering that we endure here because of our sins and lack of focus on spiritual realities. Jesus is our light and our salvation, of whom should we be afraid? We have to be perfected, either here on earth or in purgatory, before we can enter heaven. There is a beautiful current Christian song, "You raise me up so I can stand on mountains. You raise me up to walk on stormy seas. You raise me up to more than I can be." Jesus, you ask us to come each day and sit a while with you to give meaning to our work here on earth.
Last Friday night I went to see the new movie, "Risen." Please go see it. You will be thrilled. Encourage your family and friends to go see it. It is about the Roman centurion becoming a disciple of Jesus. The centurion was sent to remove three bodies from their crosses and seal Jesus in his tomb so no one would steal him and say Jesus rose from the dead. It is an interesting view of how that centurion met Jesus and became a disciple.
The kingdom of God is not about military might but about love. We are called to get closer to Jesus and go out to our family, friends and anyone else the Lord leads us to, and invite them to become followers of Jesus. We are to be catching new fish for Jesus. He told us to go and make disciples of all nations and teach then what Jesus is about, loving others. Let us pray more and go forth to bring others to Jesus. Let us join together to be Christ’s light bearers in our dark world. This will help bring us more joy.
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
© 2016 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR