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2nd Sunday of Lent A

Today’s Mass Readings

2nd Sunday of Lent A

Matthew 17 1-9.

True compassion for another is the glory of the Lord.

I have been trying to think
why the Transfiguration of Jesus is a Lenten gospel.

With Jesus in his glory
It certainly seems like it should belong
in the Easter season.

We think of glory as a King or Queen
sitting on their throne
having everyone wait on them.

But there is another glory.

I want to call it, “the glory of real.”

A little analogy might help us –
Is there anyone here who has had surgery?

As you know,
when I broke my shoulder and my wrist
in two places in a fall last April,
I lost six weeks of work,
and yes, eight months of golf,
among other activities,
How wonderful it would be
to just have the operation in the morning
or get zapped and play a round of golf in the afternoon.
Come again.

Well, we might be tempted to think
that the glory of the Lord in today’s gospel
has nothing much to do with our experiences every day.

In fact it might be a little unreal,
like playing golf in the afternoon
when you had a shoulder replaced in the morning.

Know for sure, St. Matthew
did not just precariously put the Transfiguration
in his gospel at this point.

For a very good reason,
Jesus predicted his passion, death and resurrection
before he was transfigured and after he was transfigured.

You can look it up.

Matthew 16 and 17.
What the hard knocks of life have taught me
is that Jesus does not want us to ever think
that our cross and sufferings are just something
we have to go through and go through alone
or worse that they have no purpose.

He experiences every pain and hurt we experience
More than a mother or father experiences
the pains and suffering of their child.
Remember he still has his wounds in his hands, feet
and his side after he rose from the dead.

So my friends,
his glory is not sitting on some thrown in royal robes
having people wait on him.

He glories in us in all our joys and sorrows.

Why else would he say in the garden before he was arrested,
”Now, Father, give me in your presence the same glory I had with you before the world began.”
Isn’t it true?

His glory is how much he loves us and is with us and how much we in turn love him.

The glory of Jesus is communion with us
in all our joys, and all we suffer and not just ours
but every man and woman conceived in this world.
This is why we have all of this talk about glory
and being transfigured during the season of Lent.

The season of Lent with all its sacrifices and penance
helps us get in touch with our raw humanity.

 

Our penance and fasting and almsgiving
helps create a hunger in us
so we can feel the deeper hungers in our hearts,
especially the hunger Jesus has
for our love and affection.

And when we do these penances out of love,
something alarming in us changes.

We are transfigured, you and me.

What we value in life changes, so do our hungers.

What was so important in this world to us
has its place, but now it’s not our first love.

Our passion has changed.

A new fire is being kindled in our hearts.

The needs of other people around us,
the sufferings of other people
whom we call the poor,
jump out in front of us
and we find ourselves driven to meet those needs.

They become our new hunger in life.

And remember what Jesus said we are?

He said, “You are the light of the world.

Do not put your lamp under a bushel basket.

Let your light shine so that others may believe.”

“His clothes shone like the sun.”

Why his clothes?

According to St. Augustine,
we are his clothes that shine
in the darkness of people we meet every day
when he transfigures us
because we do not run away
from our life as we find it.

We embrace it so we won’t be afraid
to suffer with someone
who is going through their own passion.

Jesus glory is the glory of the real.

True compassion for another is the glory of the Lord.

And all it takes to discover that Light in our hearts
and be the Light for others is a little sacrifice out of love
to light the fire.

Our life with Jesus, our Catholic faith
is all about communion.

Who are we in communion with today?

Find that person and you will find your glory.

Rick Pilger

Father Pilger, I.C. was born in Canton, Illinois and was ordained at St. John’s Seminary, Wonersh, England in December 1978. He joined the Blessed Sacrament Parish in August 1995, coming here from Sacred Heart Parish in Bradenton Florida.

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