Scripture today features the infinite value of living life for God through every trial. Abraham, leaves all to serve God and becomes father of the faith. And Paul tells us to “bear every hardship for the sake of the good news”. Christ came down from the mountain to face the cross that saved the world. Lets confess ways we fail to bear hardships for God and the church..
She walks in beauty like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes
You know Byron’s poem about a woman at a dance. It wasn’t her physical beauty that attracted him but a soul full of innocent love. Real beauty is within. People flocked to Jesus because he radiated healing goodness. Yet the powerful crucified him. God’s light shining through his humanity showed up their darkness. That divine beauty was revealed fully on Tabor, dazzling the apostles. Peter would stay there forever, it was heaven on earth.
Yet coming down the mountain Christ talks of the cross. There is old saying: that there are no crown bearers in heaven who were not first cross bearers on earth. We’ve moments of great joy in God, but our faith is proved amid life’s everyday trials. Just as the everyday struggle to make marriage work must follow wedding-day bliss. Jesus came down the mountain to face the cross.
So must we. Life’s luminous moments of faith can anticipate the radiance of heaven. But to achieve that we must, as in lent, prove ourselves by prayer, fasting and charity. We must cling to God through all sufferings. We must struggle up the mountain of sickness and death at last with the cross, before heavenly bliss. Because of human freedom God doesn’t take away our suffering; if he did so we’d be manipulated puppets. Yet being his suffering faithful brings joy and comfort no worldly power can give. I see that when I visit hospitals. I see illness but also faith that enables people to transcend pain by inner strength and beauty.
Ads often would convince us that beauty is in being young, slim and using costly make-up. But closeness to God is what makes us most beautiful. Such inner grace and dignity grows rather than diminishes with age and suffering. Look at Mother Theresa. Small, old, ugly, wrinkled, her inner peace was contagious. A person who worked with her in Calcutta told me that when she entered rooms everyone lit up. It was like that with Jesus. We too can achieve luminosity of life that’s more than skin deep by prayer, mass and living the Gospel, a glory that flowers finally in eternal life.
In times of recession, or whenever we’re put to the test, such faith enables us to endure and overcome all. That’s what we should shout from the rooftops that Jesus who showed his divinity on Tabor is everyone’s light for this world as well as the next. Each of us is beautiful in some way, but more so when one with Christ. That’s why we can say of his church, and all those who belong to it, despite her and their human faults that they walk in beauty and light, even in the darkest worldly phases of their life here. Our beauty is in union with the risen Lord. In his light we can overcome all life’s darkness, sin and suffering. For though the world is to be enjoyed it fades to ashes at last but Christ is Lord of life, truth beauty and grace both for our happiness in this world and forever and ever amen. So as God’s people, following Christ through all the trials and sufferings of life so as to rise with Him to glory, lets profess our faith..
Prayers of the faithful:
As God’s people secure in his dazzling light as Risen Lord we make our prayers through him with confidence to Our Father.
For the church throughout the world, especially Our Holy father the Pope and all its leaders, that shining with the light of its Risen Lord it may dazzle the world into faith and goodness..
For ourselves that in our homes and work places this holy time we may be a light of faith and love to all those around us…
For good civic leaders, to lead us out of gloom and recession.
For our young people, that they may come to fullness of life and light through the disciplines of lent and the joy and glory of meeting the Risen Lord this Easter within his church community..
For the sick, the lonely, the aged and the depressed that they may come to peace through our love and care for them. May the grace of God comfort and enable them to link their suffering to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, and so help save the world.
For the dead that they may come to that glorious risen state that Christ prefigured on Tabor…
And we ask all these our prayers through the same lord who was revealed in all his splendor at the transfiguration amen.
Some people have charisma. I remember an audience with John Paul 11, he radiated warmth. Yet that wasn’t won easily. He suffered much in Fascist and Communism Poland. Later when Pope, he was shot. And finally as an ill Pontiff we saw him struggling to speak to the crowd in St.Peter’s. In Rome recently I saw endless lines of people at his tomb. Like him we too can attain through life’s crosses the radiant glory of the blessed. May Mother Mary who suffered with Christ lead us in this..Hail Mary.