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The challenge to let the best in us shine forth

The challenge to let the best in us shine forth

2nd Sunday of Lent, Year A (Matt 17:1-9)
March 12, 2017

By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB

The transfiguration of Jesus—the revelation of his divine nature and glory—must have been an unforgettable experience for the three fortunate disciples: Peter, James, and John. They treasured its memory till the end of their lives. (See Jn 1:14 and 2 Pt 1:17-18.)

Can the transfiguration of Jesus have a message for us, too? We may think: it happened to him because he, besides being a human being, was also God. But we are poor, simple creatures . . . . Not only that: we are sinful creatures! Often, our lives, our thoughts, desires, and actions are far from bright . . . . They are not something we could boast of, but rather, something we should be ashamed of.

Yet, we know that there is in us a spark of divinity. Created in the image and likeness of God, we carry within ourselves—like a most precious seed—the possibility and the call to let the brightness of God’s goodness and holiness shine out in all their radiance. But it is a seed housed in the shell of a weak and wounded nature. In many of us, it is a dormant seed, imprisoned in the mud of our vices and sins. By God’s grace, however, the seed remains alive, and retains the potentiality to sprout and grow, if only we give it a chance.

Throughout the centuries, many dared to dream of the Transfiguration as a lifelong task they were determined to undertake. Like Abraham, they heeded the Lord’s call to leave the familiar surroundings and to start to journey toward a mysterious land that He would give as their lasting inheritance. That call meant to leave behind the shell of selfishness, material attachments and complacency, and to burst forth like a seed in springtime, under the sun of God’s love. That was how their lives became a wonderful tree laden with fruits of humility, generosity, purity, charity. . . . The brightness of their virtues shone all around them, and not even death could dim it. So far had they progressed in their spiritual life that the people around them had a glimpse of what Christ was like. We call them “saints.” God calls them “friends.” It is thanks to people such as these that the world is a better place and humankind has a clear idea of its dignity and grandeur.

The season of Lent, springtime in our souls, is for us all a reminder of the tremendous potential that is in us. Jesus’ Transfiguration, on this Second Sunday of Lent, should be our constant inspiration, prodding us to let the greatness that is in us burst forth and grow to the full. It should also become what it should have always been: the aspiration to be a reflection of God’s goodness and love, as all the saints have been. We know the means to attain that. They are: openness to God’s grace, conversion, penance, prayer, acts of charity. We know this is the time. This is our chance to let our real greatness burst forth and shine.