Today is the Third Sunday of Lent. Today’s gospel in Mark tells recounts the Transfiguration of Jesus before the disciples. “And he was transformed before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses and they were conversing with Jesus……..Then a cloud came, casting a showdow over them: from the cloud came a voice, ‘This is my beloved Son, Listen to him’. Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them.”
I am wondering about the conversation between Jesus, Elijah and Moses. Scripture says there were conversing with Jesus. What do you image they were talking about? Perhaps it went something like this:
Jesus: Thank you for coming to visit me here among our people.
Elijah: I was anxious to see the twelve men you chose to lead and teach after you come back to us in heaven. Do you really think they can do it? They look like simple fishermen to me. I’m not sure they are up to the task you will set before them. I hope you chose the right ones Jesus.
Moses: At least they know you. Me and my people wondered around the deserts for so many years waiting for you and never did get to see you as they do. I hope they realize the gift they have been given in your presence Jesus. We had the Old Testament laws – so many laws that we were bound to. It was so difficult to follow all of them. The least infraction and we were doomed. I hope they all can see the tremendous gift you are giving to them.
Elijah: Yeah Jesus – have you told them that you are here to change all those old laws – no more eye for an eye and all that……Oh that they would know how free they can be with the hope you are bringing to them! They can turn to you and be freed from their sinful ways.
Jesus: These twelve men were selected by the Father for the task they are being given. Some of them will fail at first but those failures will prove to be the purification of their faith and will motiviate them to stand faithful to my teaching. The Father is going to send them his Spirit of Faith and Love who will guide them to accomplish their task. They will all accomplish what has been predestined for them.
Moses: You are going to remind them of the laws you carved for me on the stones?
Jesus: Oh Yes, and I will carve them in the hearts of these men and all who will follow?
Has Jesus carved his will for your life in your heart – are you following his will? Do you even know what his will is for you? Lent is the time for each of us to slow down long enough to listen to his will; to let that small voice come into our spirit and speak to us. If we are willing, he will speak to us of all the ways in which we are not living in accord with his will and will give us joy for the ways in which we are.
It is our tradition to “give up” something for Lent. This year, I have given up french fries and dip cones. The fries and dips are something I enjoy. I offer them up as a discipline of the flesh to let God know I am willing to offer allbeit small sacrifice in gratitude for all his has given to me. It reminds me that I need to look at the things in my life that speak to overindulgence. How about you – what overindulgence are you being reminded of this Lent?
It is also our tradition to “take up” something for Lent. We might take up going to weekday mass or adding a Lenten medatation to our prayers during Lent. Perhaps it’s going to confession. In addition to weekday mass, I am again taking up my yearly journals for Lent.
Just before Lent each year I begin to think and pray about all the people I am close to – family, friends, Directees. I ask God who we will invite into our Lent? As I am praying about each, I hear his invitation to that person to join us for Lent. I then go out and buy a journal for each person he/we invite. Then, beginning on Ash Wednesday and each day during Lent I write to that peson in their journal. I typically tell them about lessons I am learning, reflections I am reading and whatever else God whispers to me to write (like taking dictation). I have to opportunity in their journal to share how proud I am of them and how they are living their lives. I write about my love for them. It’s a great way to tell them all the things I might not say to them but always wanted to. I usually end each day with an open-ended question for them to reflect on. This year I am writing to four people.
Then on Easter Sunday, I wrap up the journal and go to them for a personal delivery. I don’t reveal who I have been writing to until that day. Nice surprise – a gift of love from me – but especially from the Lord – because I trust he will reveal himself to them by some simple little word that I heard him tell me to write just for that person.
What are you “taking up” this Lent? How is it bringing you closer to accomplishing the task God has given to you. We have all been given a task, just like the disciples. Lent is the time to take a look at how were are doing with it.
God Bless You!!!