March 16-17, 2019
With Our heads in the Clouds
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Have you ever woken from a dream, not knowing if the dream was real or not? It is as if your head is caught up in the clouds, or an even better explanation of the feeling would be, to be cloudy headed. That feeling of being cloudy headed causes us to question whether we are perceiving reality correctly. Was the dream reality or am I dreaming now, even though I believe myself to be awake. I don’t know about you, but I find myself laying in bed trying to figure out if I am awake or am I still sleeping, and the dream continues.
Peter, James and John must have been cloudy headed, was the transfiguration reality or was it a dream? They were so clouded in their thinking that Peter’s own response to the Transfiguration was not an acknowledgement of the reality that the Transfiguration represented which was a foreshadowing of the promise of the Resurrection. “As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus, Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (Luke 9:2836) Peter wanted to provide tents for Jesus, Moses and Elijah to stay the night up on that mountain top. That is a good example of being cloudy headed. The Apostles Peter, John and James experienced the foreshadowing of that transformational grace in Jesus’ transfiguration. They came to see on that mountain top, Jesus transfigured with Moses and Elijah, but they did not understand fully that God’s plan of salvation was being fulfilled. Jesus is the new covenant which replaces all other covenants. Peter and the other Apostles would not understand the great event of the Transfiguration and its full meaning until after Pentecost.
The Lenten season invites us to embrace continual conversion in our lives. Conversion begins with baptism and continual conversion finds its expression in reconciliation. Through an examination of conscience, we come to understand more profoundly the need for continual conversion in our lives. Through the sacrament of reconciliation that continual conversion can take root in our lives and the grace that flows from reconciliation is transformational.
We hear in the first reading from the book of Genesis how Abram (Abraham) and his descendants receive a covenant from the one true God, “To your descendants I give this land.” God would make further covenants with his people, especially the Mosaic covenant, the law (the Ten Commandments). When Jesus is transfigured with Moses and Elijah, it is a sign to the Apostles that Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. The law was given to unite the people with God, but no law could take away sin and no amount of compliance with the law could make us perfect. The prophetic Word of God is what gives life, the spoken word brought about creation in the book of Genesis and the word made flesh will bring about recreation. It is in Jesus’ own suffering and death on the cross that we are forgiven our sins, no law could do that and in the waters of baptism we are recreated, born anew.
In Jesus’ transfiguration we are given a glimpse of that future glory which transforms us into the image and likeness that God had originally intended from the moment of creation. Through our own embracing of the cross, we experience conversion and transformation. The Lenten season invites us to embrace continual conversion in our lives. Conversion begins with baptism and continual conversion finds its expression in reconciliation. Through an examination of conscience, we come to understand more profoundly the need for continual conversion in our lives. Through the sacrament of reconciliation that continual conversion can take root in our lives and the grace that flows from reconciliation is transformational. The Transfiguration is not about having our heads caught up in the clouds, the Transfiguration is about our ability to see the reality of the promised hope of the future resurrection even as we live with the sufferings of the cross.
Yours in Christ,