Second Sunday of Lent A

I am sick of this winter.  And it is more than about a meteorological phenomenon.  It has affected my attitude and I bet it has affected yours as well.  It has been a keep your head down, get through the icy wind kind of winter.   Yes, there are occasionally pleasant spring-like days just to tease us.  They come as shafts of light angling into a basement.  But then the cold reality returns.

And I think that it is often enough that way in our lives.  We keep our head down and try to get things done.  Try to keep up with our calendars, our deadlines and our homework. Occasionally, some light shines through, a moment of levity are a clear possession of beauty, but then it is back to the grind.

It would seem the Transfiguration was such a respite moment.  Jesus and the disciples are well beyond the initial euphoria of those opening days of the ministry – the large crowds and the excitement of who this momentous figure is.  They are now tested and followed by opponents whose desire to trip them up hints at their darker designs.  And every step takes them closer to Jerusalem, to a destiny the disciples have not quite grasped but Jesus understands completely.  It makes sense then that this intersection of pure grace and light in the Transfiguration would be a moment to savor.  Understandably, Peter does not want it to fade away.  “I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He wants this warm day to finally usher in the Spring of the kingdom of God.  But Jesus says they must go down the mountain to face the world with its temptations, its sins and ultimately the cross.

That is how the Transfiguration might seem – a vehicle that helps us endure.  Hopefully, this hour is one of those moments for you.  But that is not the meaning of the Transfiguration.  It is not a peak of a glory that will be taken away from us. It is the fulfillment of a promise that is already ours.  The disciples could not understand because they had not yet experienced Easter.  But we are an Easter people living in the presence of the Risen Christ.  We have been transfigured.  The glory is true. The glory is ours.

Glory is not something that meets at the end of life.  It is ours because we are God’s. It is our truth and our beauty that underlies every moment of our lives.  The promise of what will be in heaven is only the fullness of what we experience now.  We are like our father in faith Abraham, in our first reading who is blessed, and to be a blessing.  We are transformed in glory by believing in the words that came from heaven, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”  And we take on Christ’s words of courage, “Rise, and do not be afraid.”

Our glory was assured the moment we were created in the image of God.  Our glory was assured the moment we were dipped in the waters of baptism and joined to the life of Jesus.  Our glory was assured the moment the Son of God gave his life in a perfect sacrifice of love.  Our glory was assured the moment we take his body from this table and consume his blood for that is our renewable and continuous transfiguration into glory.

Our lives are not about just getting by and or lives are more valuable than trudging through to the end. We are expressions of God’s divine beauty and carriers of God’s love.  We are a redeemed people meant to share the good news, meant to bring God’s justice, to tell the forgotten a story of redemption, the sinner a story of forgiveness and the lonely a story of friendship. They will not listen to the down headed trudgers, they are looking for glory. As St. Ireneus said, “The glory of God is human beings fully alive.  We reflect the perfect glory of God.  We must shimmer.