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MIDNIGHT MUSINGS
Transfiguration
Last Sunday, as always on the First Sunday of Lent, we heard about the temptations of Jesus; he is human like us.  The transfiguration story, always on the Second Sunday of Lent, explains that he is more than human; he is God’s own Son. The transfiguration bought a vision of insight for the apostles; they saw differently  who Jesus was.  The ordinarily ordinary looking Jesus now looked so extraordinary: from the outside of Jesus they saw his inside: the Son of God. God was shining through; they glimpsed eternity.  They felt they saw the real Jesus for the first time.
“This is my beloved Son on whom my favor rests”– these words God spoke at the baptism and the transfiguration of Jesus to reveal his identity at those two decisive moments.  At his baptism, at beginning of his ministry, Jesus was assured of God’s love. Then at the transfiguration, at beginning of his journey to death in Jerusalem, Jesus is again assured of God’s love. The transfiguration story adds God’s words: “Listen to him.”  That is, listen, he will help you, the only one who can teach you the full truth.
The transfiguration story describes Moses and Elijah conversing with Jesus; what did they talk about? Perhaps it was about their common experiences, how to be faithful to God in difficult situations having tough times with people. Jesus would be like them: Moses, the liberator, not just leading Israel from slavery to promised land, but leading believers from slavery to sin and death into glory of God’s kingdom, and Elijah, the prophet, reminding a forgetful people of God.
The story of Abraham and Isaac in the first reading highlights Abraham’s faithful obedience.  He was willing to sacrifice his son, but in the end God did not require that.  St. Paul says in the second reading that God in fact gave over his Son: “He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all” (Romans 8:32).  The same verse offers us hope, Paul says, if God would give his own Son, “how will he not also give us everything else along with him?”
St. Paul wrote this letter to the Romans, a persecuted community in the city where St. Paul would ultimately give his life as a martyr.  Hard times for Paul and the Roman Christians!  Yet that eighth chapter is filled with hope and optimism.  “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (verse 31).  “We know that all things work for the good for those who love God” (28).  “I believe the sufferings of the present are nothing compared  to the glory to be revealed for us” (18).  “Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”  (39).  When we follow God’s words and listen to his beloved Son, we have the hope of sharing his transfigured glory.
Fr. Paul Image

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Paul Vuturo