Friday, February 15, 2008

With Him On The Holy Mountain

February 17, 2008 Year A

Second Sunday of Lent

Reflections on the Readings

By Dennis Hankins

Genesis 12:1-4a; Psalm 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22

2 Timothy 1:8b-10; Matthew 17:1-9

Theme: With Him On The Holy Mountain

"This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased," We heard this voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. (2 Peter 1:17-18)

This experience was on Peter's mind when he said, "We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty." (2 Peter 1:16) Peter, James and John became participants of the divine nature through the vision given them of the transfiguration of Jesus. They were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

The reading of the Transfiguration during Lent is to remind us that we too can and should want to know Jesus directly, personally, and more than ever before. It is said we are known by the company we keep. And then it is true that the company we keep can change us for the good or for ill. But nobody who lingers often and long with Jesus can remain unaltered. And perhaps it is this need to look more like Jesus is why we in this holy season are reminded to look more to Jesus, to become eyewitnesses of his majesty. And in that glimpse of his wonderful face to listen to him, to embrace the exhortation of Mary to do whatever he tells us to do.

Mount Tabor was renamed the "holy mountain." The face of Jesus shining like the sun and his garments becoming white as light forever altered that mountain. But not only the place, but the men he brought with him as well would never be the same. Nothing and no one remains the same after being touched by Jesus.

The holy season of Lent brings us into what we can call 'spiritual battle.' I recall last year (2007) how on Good Friday, we had to take our little girl Heidi to the Children's Hospital ER. For eight grueling hours we were in the ER room. Plans to be at the Good Friday Mass went out the door, as we realized we would live out some of the drama of that first Good Friday in our own experiences on this day. Heidi was severely dehydrated. Her thirsty body reminded me how our Lord had said on that day, "I thirst."

Later that evening me and Heidi's brother and sisters and their companions collapsed at a table in a nearby pizza establishment on the strip in Knoxville. As we bowed our heads, fear and uncertainty gripped our hearts and I could only pray, "Lord, help us." I could say no more and all agreed it was enough.

Times of trial and temptation bring us to our knees so that we will draw near to Jesus and to one another. Over the next several days and weeks, Heidi would be evaluated for several life threatening and/or life altering diseases. Several moments of grace came into our lives during this time. Providentially I sat down across from a Pediatric doctor at a Men's Cursillo. What a blessing and consolation he was. One day on my way to work on a very drab and dreary overcast rainy morning, a cardinal, the bird that God has used to comfort and confirm me throughout the years stood along the road like a sentinel sent from on high. And then one by one the tests came in and the results were in Heidi's favor.

The reason Lent is so special and necessary, is because repentance, love, forgiveness and reconciliation are indispensable. People write off family, friends and church without batting an eye. But people of holy faith know better, desire better, and seek a better way. That better way is to ask the dear Lord to help us to be 'eyewitnesses of his majesty.' It is the people of God who of all people on the face of the earth who should have a clear vision of the majesty and power of Jesus.

We should not attempt to minimize the presence of the Almighty on that holy mountain or in our lives. Let us magnify the Lord. Let us with Peter say, "It is well that we are here." Let us embrace this unveiling of Jesus to us and hear the Father say of him, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him."

Let us pray: Dear Jesus, You were exalted on the holy mountain. By your Cross, you were lifted up so the whole world could see you. Then you ascended far above all principalities and powers and sat down at the right hand of the Father. And now you are Christ in me, the hope of glory. Be glorified O Lord in me. Amen.

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