Note: These Sunday & Holy Day Gospel Reflections are written so that mothers may prepare for Holy Mass in advance either as a small group or individually (especially since we are so often necessarily distracted during Mass itself).
Jesus took Peter, James, and John
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them,
and his clothes became dazzling white,
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses,
and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
"Rabbi, it is good that we are here!
Let us make three tents:
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them;
from the cloud came a voice,
"This is my beloved Son. Listen to him."
Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone
but Jesus alone with them.
As they were coming down from the mountain,
he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone,
except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
So they kept the matter to themselves,
questioning what rising from the dead meant.
Can you imagine being given the privilege to see the Lord in His glorified state? to be given a glimpse of Heaven on earth? That is exactly what the disciples witness in this Sunday's Gospel, and they are just as amazed as I would be. In fact, they are terrified by the sight of this, so much so that in His perfect compassion even Jesus does not know what to say to them to calm their fears. So, instead God intervenes and speaks from the cloud.
How intimately these men must have known Christ! How intimated He must have known them! And yet, they were still human, unable to comprehend the sight before their eyes. And yet, He was still human, His heart overpowered by emotion for His friends.
That kind of intimacy should be our goal in this life. Peter, James, and John were literally a step away from Heaven at that moment, within reach of the Eternal God. Our entire lives should be spent trying to reach that moment, trying to become so intimately woven with the Master's heart that we know Him and He knows us.
This takes effort. This takes time. It is not something that just happens. The saints spent their whole lives in penance, adoration, works, and humble prayer, trying to grasp that elusive unity that seems entirely out of reach to most of us.
During this Lenten season, all of our fasting, prayer, and almsgiving means nothing unless its purpose is to become more intimately familiar with the Lord. For me, I can often focus too much on the practical implementation of such sacrifices and forget the intention. In silence, I remember. His Sacred Heart aches for ours.
"I am His Beloved and He is mine."