THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
Second Sunday in Lent
1 March 2015
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In today's Gospel, we find Our Lord on Mount Tabor transfigured before three of His Apostles, and in the presence of Moses and Elias. Jesus had previously spoken to the Apostles of His coming crucifixion and death. So that they would not be without consolation, Jesus has revealed His true nature to them. With clear eyes these three Apostles saw Jesus as both God and Man in this glorified state. Moses and Elias were there to confirm that Jesus is the One that they were awaiting and preparing the way for. And less there should be any further doubt, the Father spoke from the heavens and indicated that Jesus is His Son in Whom He is well pleased; and that we should hear Him.
Many commentators point out to us that this miracle of the Transfiguration was less a miracle, than the miracle of Jesus hiding His divinity all during His sojourn here upon earth. The Transfiguration allowed the Apostles to see Jesus as He truly is in His Divine glory. It was a lifetime miracle that God performed in keeping Jesus' Divinity hidden from the eyes of men. He lived in the presence of men, but most of them were never given the grace to see that He is God.
God is truly present among us at all times and in all places. Tragically, however, we seldom see Him. If we would only open our eyes with faith we could see Him. He is right in front of us, but we don't see Him. How truly blind we have become! The glory of God is manifest right before our eyes in all the good things He has given us. If we had the faith of St. Francis of Assisi we could see God and rejoice in all of His creations. The earth, the sky, the trees, the birds, fish, animals, our fellow men, etc. all manifest the glory of God to those who have the eyes of faith.
We are not to see the creature as God, but rather see God through His creatures. They all speak loud and clear to the ears of the faithful, of the goodness, power and glory of God; their Creator and ours. The next time we enjoy the sight or song of a bird or the sweet smile of a child, we should remind ourselves that this is a gift to us from our Heavenly Father. He gives Himself to us in these many and varied ways. This bird did not make itself, nor was it an accident that it is before us at this particular time and place, to bring joy to our hearts. Nothing happens by accident. Everything in this world happens because God either directly wills it; or He permits it. He permits things because, He has also willed that men should have free wills. In either case God will always make good come from it. All things work for the good of those who love God.
When things please and gratify us, it is easy to see God in this and to rejoice. There is, however, a lesson for us in today's Gospel. Jesus is preparing the Apostles for His ensuing death on the Cross. Jesus has invited us to take up daily crosses. In the face of daily crosses, it is often hard to see the presence of God. That is why our lives are alternated with joys and sorrows. This keeps us from pride and vanity, on the one hand; and from dejection and despair on the other.
We should strive to learn to see God in the crosses and difficulties of life. He is most intimately near us, especially in these times. We only need to learn to see Him there. Hardships and difficulties are not necessarily signs of God's abandonment or displeasure. On the contrary, they are often signs of God's love and concern for us. If we have sinned, it is God's way of forcing us to stop and examine our lives, and to repent, and put our lives back on track. He does this because He loves us. This is a sign that God has not abandoned us. If there are crosses and we can find no major reason why we need to repent and do penance, then it is all the more cause for us to rejoice, because we have been found worthy to follow Jesus ever more intimately. God gives virtuous souls these crosses because He desires to increase their love and ultimately their reward in heaven. As we draw near to Jesus' suffering in His humanity, we also draw ourselves more intimately in the union of our souls with His Divinity.
Many of the saints, turned away from the joys and pleasures of this life and embraced difficulties and hardships, so that they could be more like Jesus in His Humanity. This true love of Jesus brought them increasingly closer to Him in human pain and suffering, but most importantly, it brought them greater intimacy and love of hearts and souls with His Divinity. Our Lenten penances and sacrifices should be leading us in this direction. We should not reject or dismiss our need for these things, but rather, we should seek them out with greater interest and fervor. May we ever desire to do more for God in the way of crosses while we are on this earth, so that we may be found worthy to join Him in the eternal glories of Heaven, after we leave this world. Most importantly, though, we must open the eyes of our souls and see Him in all places and in all things, keeping ourselves always in His presence. If we succeed, we will be eternally grateful for all He has given us and shown us, but most importantly we will be grateful for the grace of seeing and following Him in daily crosses. It is these things that will have made possible, and even increased, our joy and glory in Heaven.
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