Gospel – Romans 8:31B – 34; Mark 9; 2 – 10
God is for us! This statement should be seen on posters, bookmarks, and most importantly, imprinted on our hearts. God is with us at all times and in all situations. Echoing the vows of marriage God is with us, “in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, in rich or in poor.” Unlike marriage vows that end with, “until death do us part,” God’s relationship with us does not end at death. That is unless we have made the conscious decision to turn away from him and choose to spend eternity without God. For those who have faithfully lived the Gospel, even if just on their deathbed, God is with us even after death. Many of us were taught that the reason God made us was to, “know Him, love Him, and serve Him in this world, so as to be happy with Him forever in the next.” God’s plan for us is that we get to heaven so as to be with Him forever. God is for us and desires that we never be separated from Him.
Ten days ago we began the Season of Lent with Ash Wednesday. The imposition of ashes on our foreheads reminds us of three things; 1. We are sinners and the ashes are a sign of our repentance, 2. That God created us as mortal beings from nothing, dust, and that we will end our day’s on earth be turning back to dust, and finally, 3. as we look upon others with ashes we are reminded that we are not alone, we are part of a community that journeys together. Lent is the season for us to journey together and examine our lives and our relationship with God so as to make the decision to restore or improve our relationship that relationship. We make this journey individually and with the community always keeping in mind that God is with us as we journey to the place Jesus has prepared for us in the Father’s house.
What are we journeying to? In the Gospel we are given a glimpse of our destination, the Glory of God’s presence. Peter, James and John were led up to the mountain where they were privileged to see Jesus Transfigured and to hear the voice of the Father. It was an experience so magnificent that it was difficult for them to understand. They were astonished and terrified. They really didn’t know what to think or how to process their feelings, but in the end the voice of the Father and the presence of Jesus gave them peace. Jesus told them not to tell anyone until he had Risen. We are told that Peter, James and John kept this to themselves and it wasn’t until after the resurrection that they began to understand, and told of this amazing encounter.
God is with us as we journey to experience first hand the glory the three apostles experienced at the Transfiguration. It is a journey that at times astonishes us, and at others can be terrifying. We can experience moments when we know beyond a show of a doubt that God is with us, and there are moments when we can be in anguish over some situation, ready to give up because of our failure to resist temptation, or just don’t feel God’s presence. In all of these God is with us, and Lent is our time to renew our faith and to allow the Lord to renew us. Our Lenten journey is part of our lifelong journey to Heaven. May we continue our journey through Lent as if we were ascending the Mount of the Transfiguration with our eyes fixed on the Glory of God at Easter.
Father Killian Loch, O.S.B.