Traditionally on the second weekend of Lent we hear the mysterious story of the Transfiguration. This year we hear Matthew’s account which is filled with images from the Old Testament and the haunting voice that repeats Isaiah’s “servant” proclamation. For Matthew’s Gospel, the focus is subtly on the reaction of the disciples to the event of the Transfiguration, and how they grapple and finally come to understand the significance of what they experienced.
Are we that different here in our Stella Maris Sunshine Coast Parish? You see, the Transfiguration is not just something that happens to Jesus. To experience transfiguration is to experience and to realise that there exists within each of us the “divinity”, the “love of God”, the “spark of the divine”, call it what you want, that enables us to transform our lives and the lives of those we love.
That experience of Transfiguration should lie at the heart of all our Lenten disciplines this year. As Pope Francis suggests, there are many ways of fasting and many ways of experiencing the Transfiguration in our lives and the lives of our sisters and brothers.
Pope Francis on Lent
Fast from HURTING WORDS and say KIND WORDS.
Fast from SADNESS and be filled with GRATITUDE
Fast from ANGER and be filled with PATIENCE.
Fast from PESSIMISM and be filled with HOPE.
Fast from WORRIES and TRUST IN GOD.
Fast from COMPLAINTS and contemplate SIMPLICITY.
Fast from PRESSURES and be PRAYERFUL.
Fast from BITTERNESS and fill your heart with JOY.
Fast from SELFISHNESS and be COMPASSIONATE to others.
Fast from GRUDGES and be RECONCILED.
Fast from WORDS and be SILENT so you can listen.
Be an agent of Transfiguration
So, what I think we should take away from today’s Mass is a blueprint for all our actions and choices this coming week which enables us to be conscious of what we are giving up and what we are taking on this Lent. Today’s Gospel powerfully reminds us that we are placed in our world, in our community, as God’s fellow workers, agents of Transfiguration. The fasting recommended by Pope Francis helps focus our minds and makes us conscious of the choices we are making and the people we are becoming. For most of us, we will probably only experience these transfiguring moments when we discover who we are and, just as important, the grace and love that has made us who we are. So, I invite you to accept Pope Francis’ suggestions so that this coming week injustice is transfigured into justice, dignity has the chance to be restored, forgiveness is experienced and all our God given potential is realised. Wishing you every blessing as we together live this second week of Lent.
Fr Peter Brannelly