THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
Second Sunday in Lent
21 February 2016
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Jesus has manifested to the three Apostles and to us, the glory of His Divinity. This is an essential element of Catholic doctrine, as well as of our eternal salvation. It is not enough to acknowledge that Jesus was a real and true historical person; nor is it enough to say that He was a just and holy Man, or even to believe that He was a Prophet. While all of this is true, what must be further added is the fact that Jesus is God. He is true God and true Man, begotten, not made. He is the Son of God, and is One with the Father and the Holy Ghost.
The Apostles have witnessed for three years the miracles of Jesus, and they have heard the beautiful and consoling teachings of mercy from His very mouth. St. Peter has even confessed that Jesus is the Son of God. However, Jesus knows that their faith is still very weak. The Apostles are about to see Jesus enter into Jerusalem where He is to suffer and die. This is a very heavy blow to their faith, therefore, Jesus temporarily lifts the veil of His Humanity to reveal to them His Divinity.
St. Peter will soon confess his willingness to suffer and even die with Jesus, but this courage soon falters. He has seen the glory of Jesus on Mount Tabor, nonetheless, he cannot remain awake and pray with Jesus in the Garden. After Jesus is taken, St. Peter attempts to hide himself in anonymity among the crowd calling for His blood. How soon has he forgotten the vision from Mount Tabor. How quickly has he forgotten his own profession of faith, and his promise to follow Jesus in suffering and death.
Sadly, we must say the same for ourselves. How many times have we made a profession of our faith in Jesus, and our love for Him, as well as our hope in Him; only later to either forget Him, or outright deny Him in sinning? How many can also truthfully confess that they have attempted to hide their faith and devotion to Jesus in the anonymity of the crowd? How many have feared to make the Sign of the Cross in public or to come to the defense of His Holy Name when It is abused by others?
There is a lesson that we must learn from St. Peter, as well as from our own past faults and failings. There is a glory that awaits us in Heaven, but to get there, we must suffer and die. We must follow Jesus to Calvary, by heeding His directive to take up our crosses daily and come follow Him.
Too often, in our struggles and difficulties we cry out to Heaven to be spared of these sufferings. What our prayers need to be turned into are prayers for the grace of patience and perseverance. We must all pass through the fires of suffering and self-denial, before we are granted the joys of the Transfiguration. We must all die, before we can be born into eternal life. As we try to hold onto this life, we loose eternal life; but the moment that we begin to let go of this life, we begin to gain eternal life. He who would save this life will loose it. He who looses this life for God, gains eternal life.
We focus our attention upon these three Apostles today, and we see their privilege and honor in being shown the glories of Mount Tabor; and we are puzzled and wonder, at the quickness with which all this is soon forgotten. However, an examination of our own lives, reveals that we still have not learned the lesson, as we repeat the same mistakes these have made. When it is time to pray, how inattentive and drowsy we become! When the crosses that are necessary for our salvation are put before us, how quickly we pull away and pray for relief of our sufferings!
What we must learn today and begin to implement right now and always; is that suffering and the cross are necessary for us they are the greatest good for us here on earth. Rather than escaping them or mitigating their bitterness, we should seek to welcome them and increase them. Our prayers need to be refocused from our pleasure and comfort, to the desire for patience and perseverance. It has pleased God to suffer and die so that we may have life, but for these merits to be applied to us, we must follow Him. We cannot follow Him in Life, unless we first follow Him in suffering and death.
May we all cooperate with God's grace so that we can, with full trust and faith in Jesus, offer ourselves up to whatever He may ask of us. Let us welcome the cross, as we never forget the glory that awaits us on the other side. We have seen this glory, as it were, from a distance. The sight of this glory is darkened from our eyes as we draw nearer to it, because the way that leads to it is filled with the crosses of suffering and misery. To fix this sight firmly in our hearts and minds so that we can traverse the painful road to get there, we must beg of Jesus in humble prayer, the graces of patience and perseverance in the times of trials and tribulations.
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