Today we’ve the wonderful story of Tabor. On the mountain we see the divinity of Christ shine for a moment through his humanity. Yet his talk coming down the mountain is not about glory but the cross. Lets confess ways we fail to carry our cross to glory..
“She walks in beauty like the night/Of cloudless climes and starry skies”. You know Byron’s poem. At a dance one night he was smitten by a lady’s beauty and purity of soul; “A mind at peace with all below/ a heart whose love is innocent”. Our gospel shows Christ bathed in similar beauty. Yet the world hated and killed him. His soul, united with the source of goodness showed up its corruption. God’s glory, veiled in his humanity, was ordinarily seen only by eyes of faith. But on Tabor the veil slipped; his divine beauty was so heavenly, Peter wanted to stay there always.
Yet descending the mountain Christ talks not of glory but the cross. Moments of joy are often like that, short-lived, yet they make subsequent trials easier. The honeymoon or holding our first child can sustain us through marriage crises. Jesus came down the mountain to face his sufferings with fresh strength. We might go out today in the same spirit to face life’s suffering. For the luminous encounter with Christ in communion here should keep us lit within. As should the Lenten prayer, fasting and charity which deepen our faith, and strengthen us for life’s crosses.
There is a saying that there are no crown bearers in heaven who were not first cross bearers on earth. Because of our freedom God doesn’t take away suffering; if he did so we’d be spoilt mindless puppets. Suffering is part of life since the fall. But faith enables us to turn unavoidable suffering into gold as Christ did. He gives us a joy and comfort in suffering that the world can’t give. Visits to hospitals remind me of this. I see sickness, but also God-given strength and faith which enables people to transcend even the trials of extreme old age. Don’t heed the ads which says only young slim, shiny haired people who use costly make-up are beautiful. The closer we get to God the more human and beautiful we become and that dignity grows with age and suffering. Look at Mother Theresa. Even when old and wrinkled, her spiritual radiance was amazing. Someone working with her in Calcutta told me that when she entered patients’ rooms everyone lit up. That’s why euthanasia’s evil, people take the easy way out, instead of letting suffering challenge and deepen them.
Its no coincidence that as faith declines despair increases. For its through prayer, weekly communion, and the Word that we gain the inner depth to bear even the hardest crosses of life with courage. And we e gain a loveliness of life thereby that’s more than skin deep. Christ was most beautiful on the cross. Each of us is infinitely beautiful when one with Christ in suffering love and faith. That’s why we can say of his church, “she walks in beauty like the night”. Despite her institutional layers of bureaucracy, her sufferings due to the opposition of the world gives her Christ’s beauty. For this world’s false superficial glitter soon fades, but Christ is Lord of a radiant inner life and a peace that endures and transcends all pain and so brings untold happiness for this world and forever and ever, amen.
So as God’s people radiant in the Risen Lord and carrying our crosses with him in love and goodness, lets profess our faith..
Prayers of the Faithful
And as the people of God gathered in the radiance of Christ our risen Lord lets pray confidently to the Father for our needs..
For our holy father the pope and all church leaders that walking in the light of Christ themselves, they may bring that light to the world by their grace-filled words and deeds..
For civil leaders that they may serve the people they govern with integrity, justice and concern for all, especially the poor and the most vulnerable in society..
For our youth that receiving the radiant light of Christ at Baptism, Holy Communion and Confirmation, they may continue to live an active faith life, and so have God’s radiant light within and be witnesses to that light amid the darknesses of the world..
For ourselves in our homes, that through our faith, love and goodness our children may be bathed in God’s living radiance..
For our own personal intentions or those of the community we now pray in silence..
For the sick, the lonely and those suffering in body, mind or soul that through our love they may know God’s comfort and care..
For the dead that they may enjoy the eternal radiance of heaven helped, where still weighed down by their sins in this world, by our continuing prayers and loving remembrance..
And we ask all these our prayers through Christ our radiant lord of love, forever, amen.
Perhaps the great failure our world today is its neglect of man’s inner life. All is surface glitter and worldly clamor. Yet its what’s within that matters. We can have every luxury, yet be empty inside. Faith carried our parents through tough times. We need the same spiritual depth and grace today to carry us through every recession. When the materialistic world fails us we’ve zilch left. But all the while Christ knocks at the door of our hearts with the way, the truth and the life. Lets open our hearts to him this lent and Easter. Let him light our souls out of all adversity and darkness. And lets fervently ask Mary, to open our and our youth’s souls to his radiance, for as Paul says now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation..Hail Mary