Transfiguration - a homily for 2nd Sunday of Lent 2020

Jesus was TRANSFIGURED before Peter, James and John.
Anybody here need a transfiguration?
I could use one.

Would any one of us turn down an offer
to hike up to the top of a mountain
and spend some time there alone with Jesus?

• Isn’t there something happening (or something not happening)
in your life and in mine
something to make us want to go for a walk with Jesus
for a little one-on-one time,
to tell him our troubles and ask him a few questions?

• As members of a Church sometimes tripping over itself
to survive shifting demographics and shrinking numbers
- while still grieving the abuse of its own children -
who wouldn’t want a chance to talk with Jesus-if only just to make sure he’s still with us?

• In a nation divided by anger and acrimonious debate,
who wouldn’t be grateful for the close company of Jesus,
as a refuge, a shelter, from all the name-calling and  bitterness?

• In a world where it seems we’re often expected
to climb sheer walls without a safety line,
who wouldn’t want Jesus as a guide to help us  negotiate
the heights, the ravines, the cliffs and crevices of life’s landscape?

• I think we could all use a transfiguration and -
as unique and dazzling as the scene in the gospel is -
I don’t believe such an experience is beyond our grasp.

• The story here begins with Jesus taking his friends off by themselves…
So, imagine that one day Jesus said to Peter, James and John,
“Come with me - we’re going for a walk."
They didn’t know where they were going or what they’d experience.

• Well, you know, there's not a day that goes by
when Jesus isn’t inviting you and me to go for a walk with him.

He’s always inviting us to begin our day by checking in with him
and to end our day with some moments for prayer.

Seven days a week Jesus invites us to slow down and stop
and put aside some time for him:
time to be still… and to know that he’s there…
walking by our side,
because that’s where he always is and always wants to be...

• How Jesus might reveal himself to you and me in such moments
might not be quite show-stopper described in today’s gospel
but we can be sure he does invite each one of us
to leave the day-to-day behind for  a while
and to go off with him to share a little quality time
precisely so that we can come to see him more clearly,
love him more dearly,
and follow him more nearly…

And Jesus wants this with us because he wants very much
to be more than just an acquaintance of ours,
more than just an occasional friend we go to
when we need something.

• We heard in the gospel today that Peter, James and John
were “very much afraid”
when they saw Jesus transfigured at the top of the mountain.

And it could be that sometimes you and I are afraid of meeting the Lord
because we’re embarrassed about something we’ve done
- or something we’ve failed to do -
or because we’re holding back on something
we believe the Lord is asking of us.

• What we often forget or perhaps what we’ve never understood
is that the Lord’s first and greatest desire
is, ALWAYS, simply: to be with us and for us to be with him.
That’s exactly why he took his three friends up that mountain,
just to be with them.
He wanted them to get to know him better.
So he revealed himself to them in all his glory.

• And morning, noon and night,
Jesus is inviting you and me to the same kind of experience.
And he invites us to bring with us whatever burdens we carry,
whatever troubles are ours right now:
all the burdens and cares each of us brought with us
into this church this morning.
- and he’s more than willing
to help us carry whatever it might be that weighs us down.

• He invites to step aside from the day-to-day
precisely to refresh our faith and trust in him
especially when people and things around us lead us to doubt.

• He knows it’s not always easy for us
to step off the merry-go-round of our lives,
to sit and be still with him -- but he’s patient and understanding
and he’s happy to wait for us while catch our breath,
slow down, and find and make time to spend by his side.

• He calls us to hike up the mountains of our lives with him
and he calls each of us by name.
He has known each one of us from all eternity
and his singular desire is for us to
to see him more clearly, love him more dearly,
and  follow him more nearly… day by day…

• Lent is a season set aside for moments of transfiguration:
time to slow down and spend some time with Jesus;
time to go for a hike with him in the hills and valleys of our hearts,
time to get to know Jesus at least a little better
than we knew him before Lent.

Through our fasting leading us to prayer
and through our prayer leading us to serve the poor,
the Lord draws close to us and invites us to draw closer to him.

In the whole week there’s no moment of greater intimacy with Jesus
than when we take a seat at his table here,
listen to his voice in the scriptures
and share in the sacrament
of his Body and Blood in the Eucharist.

And on the other six days of the week,
morning, noon and night,
day by day,
he calls us aside, to go for a hike, a walk,
or just to sit with him,
to be still in his presence
and to love him more dearly,
day by day… 

Day by day, day by day, O, dear Lord, three things I pray: 
to see thee more clearly, love thee more dearly,
follow thee more nearly, day by day!