Gen 22:1-2,9-13,15-18; Rom 8:31-34; Mk 9:2-10
Fr. Anthony de Mello, SJ in his book entitled Song of the Birds, wrote about a wise man who once reflected about himself: “I was a revolutionary when I was young and all my prayer to God was: ’Lord, give me the grace to change the world.’ As I approached middle age and realized that half of my life was gone without changing a single soul, so I changed my prayer into: ‘Lord, give me the grace to change all those who come in contact with me. Just my family and friends and I shall be satisfied.’ Now that I am old and my days are numbered, I have begun to see how foolish I have been. My one prayer now is: “Lord, give me the grace to change myself.’ If I had prayed for this right from the start I should not have wasted my life.”
Today we begin the second week of Lent with the gospel account of the Transfiguration of Jesus. He takes Peter, James and John up Mount Tabor and gives them a little glimpse of His glory. The divine glory shines from the face of Jesus. He is transfigured before them or He changes in appearance when He prays to God. And then the voice of the Father from the clouds reveals who Jesus is: “This is my Son, my beloved. Listen to Him.” God the Father reveals that Jesus is not only a man, He is also God.
One of the intentions of this vision can be to strengthen the faith of the apostles. It is because a few days earlier, Jesus told them that He is going to suffer and die in Jerusalem. St. Matthew, in his Gospel, says that when Peter heard this, he says to Jesus: “God forbid it, Lord! That must never happen to you.” Jesus then said to Peter: “Get away from me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my way, because these thoughts of yours don’t come from God but from man,” (Matthew 16:22-23).
I ask you to reflect on this gospel by remembering the Four T’s of life. The first T is, Test. It is not easy to climb a mountain but the climb is its reward. To climb a mountain is also to test our own perseverance and patience to go on climbing. Therefore we can say that life is full of tests. The exams, unfortunately, don’t end when school ends. On this earth, our abilities are constantly tested. Our patience is often tested our love for members of our families is tested sometimes every hour of the day! Even our faith is tested.
I remember reading a talk given by Bishop Fulton Sheen. He said that the greatest test the western people face is whether or not they will divide their loyalties between Christ and the world. In other words, the greatest test they face is, “Will I compromise my faith?”
Think of how many Catholics today disagree with the Church on fundamental issues of faith and morals: on bishops speaking about political issues; on the necessity of coming to Mass every Sunday; on the sinfulness of contraception and abortion; on the reality of the Eucharist as the Body and Blood of Christ. According to a survey only 30% of all Catholics believe in the teachings of the Catholic Church on the Eucharist. Think of how many Catholics have compromised their faith in supporting political candidates who actively promote the sinful behavior that is destroying our country at the present time. These, of course, are just some of the ways that the faith is compromised. And much of it, you see, it is socially acceptable.
The second T is Trust. God is telling us to trust Him when we climb on the mountain of life. We should not give up. We should go slowly, step by step, one win at a time as some coaches of basketball are saying. He is telling us to leave our emotional and spiritual baggage behind and travel light. If we trust Him we will be able to let go of our worries in life, burdens, burdens of wealth and possession especially our greed to have more. Instead of putting our treasures in the commercial banks, why don’t we look at the treasures we bank in our hearts?
The third T is Thank you. When we say thank you, mean it and it should be coming from the heart.
The last T is Testimony. Let us look at the situation of our country today there is political and economic upheavals. Some people especially our legislators are clamoring for charter change because for them this is the only way to make our country better. Some are shouting for the president to resign and put another president. As I look at it, there should be a political transfiguration which is God’s way of telling us that even if we succeed, a despotic and corrupt government and the succeeding political structures will be no better unless there is a deeper change. We don’t need ChaCha or Charter Change, what we need now is the other ChaCha or Character Change. That change must come from within, an inner revolution of attitudes and values from those who govern as well as those who are governed. This is the greatest testimony that we can give about our changed life.
No one stays at the mountaintop forever. Sooner or later we must descend and go back to realities and make our changed life a testimony for other others so that others may have a deep experience. I read something about 40 Rules of Living and these can help us in giving testimonies for others. I will share some of these rules for living like: Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully; when you say, “I love you,” mean it; When you say, “I’m sorry,” look the person in the eye; Never laugh at anyone’s dreams; love deeply and passionately, you might get hurt but it’s the only way to live life completely; Don’t judge people by their relatives; talk slow but think quick; Remember the 3 R’s: Respect for self, respect for others and Responsibility for all your actions; Don’t let little dispute injure a great friendship; Smile when you are picking up the phone, the caller will hear it in your voice; Spend some time alone; open your arms to change but don’ let go your values; Read more books and watch less television; live a good and honorable life; disagreements with loved one deals with current situation and not to bring up the past; be gentle with the earth; Pray, there’s immeasurable power in it; Mind your own business; If you make a lot of money, put it to use helping others while you are living. That is wealth’s greatest satisfaction and many more.
These are the Four T’s of Life: Test, Trust, Thank You and Testimony.
See: Today’s Readings