“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased, listen to him” (Matthew 17: 5).
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
We continue our pilgrimage during this holy season of Lent to recognize Jesus within one another as we are called to serve one another. In the Scripture of the Second Sunday of Lent, we marvel at the Transfiguration of Jesus; He who was called beloved at His Baptism is again called out, distinguished by God the Father who says, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased, listen to Him.”
God’s offering of His beloved Son to us is so amazing. He knows us from the moment of our conception and loves us in all that we are. He transfigures us as we journey with Him so that we are also His beloved. How simply He sets the table for us! The only requisite is to sit down at His table in a state of His love. The Eucharistic life shapes our lives even in our world. Everything matters after we receive Him…every idle thought; every diversion in which we indulge ourselves; every word we speak. We are transfigured by the Eucharist and our very being then brings His light and glory to all we meet if we choose to accept this wondrous offering from God.
During this Season of Lent, we are particularly aware of our imperfections. Yet God has chosen us to lead each other to Him and as we fervently try, as we receive Him in the Eucharist, we are forever transfigured. Pope Francis said, “To deepen our knowledge of the Master, to fully understand and embrace the mystery of His salvation, accomplished in total self-giving inspired by love, we must allow ourselves to be taken aside by Him and to detach ourselves from mediocrity and vanity. We need to set out on the journey, an uphill path that, like a mountain trek, requires effort, sacrifice and concentration.”
We make our way to heaven from Communion to Communion. The Psalmist speaks clearly, “Lord let your mercy be on us as we place our trust in you” (Psalm 33). What follows can only be the journey with Jesus and that journey transfigures every moment to be His light as St. Paul characterizes, according to God’s own design, that we are called to a holy life.
We now understand the mystery of the Eucharist within the light of Holy Thursday as it was accomplished at the very moment when Jesus’ body was to be broken like the bread and when His blood was to be shed like the wine. As this transfiguration fills our heart, the fullness of God’s love brings us to each other: to ask for forgiveness of our sibling or someone with whom we have rejected for many years; to wrap our arms around an older person who is no longer capable; to smile at a passer-by, instead of looking at our cell phone; to bring food to a pantry or assist with its distribution; to check our judgement of others and offer prayers for them instead; to pray as a family before a meal; avail ourselves to the Sacrament of Penance to speak out loud how we have hurt God by hurting His people; to replace worldly pleasures with God’s treasure. Each of us may transfigure our daily living into God’s living, into a Eucharist.
On the First Sunday of Lent, we welcomed 581 catechumens from 67 parishes at the Rite of Election. These catechumens, the unbaptized who are preparing to become Catholic, are participating in a journey of generations before them – the journey of encounter with Jesus in His public ministry on earth, accompanying Him through His Passion and Death, coming to understand Real Presence through the Eucharist and profound gratitude for the Triumph of the Cross, everlasting life. This is not a journey chosen for them; this is a journey on which they chose to embark, with courage of the Holy Spirit and steadfast in their ‘yes’ to the Lord’s call, “Come follow me.” They are blessed and are our blessing.
The Elect are not alone in this journey. We accompany them as the community of faith, already chosen people by virtue of our Baptism. In our accompaniment, we pray with them, assist in their formation, and join with them on the Easter Vigil as they become members of the body of Christ, the community of faith through the Sacrament of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion. I encourage you to learn the names of The Elect in your parish or mission and make their name great through prayer, just as God promised the people of Israel.
Let us join Pope Francis in his prayer for us: May the Holy Spirit inspire and sustain us this Lent in our ascent with Jesus, so that we may experience His divine splendor and thus, confirmed in faith, persevere in our journey together with Him, glory of His people and light of the nations.