Fear Had Taken Them Over

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Dear Parishioners & Visitors,

Jesus took Peter, James, and John and Jed them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white.

The disciples were scandalized. Jesus had announced to them that they were going up to Jerusalem where he would be rejected by the nation's religious leaders, abused, condemned to death and resurrect after three days. There was too much in those words for them to understand. So far they felt everything was under control. And now Jesus was shaking their confidence. This is the background to the reading of today's gospel. Insecurity and fear had taken them over.

Jesus needs to intervene, he needs to restore confidence among his disciples. And so he takes the three initial disciples with him up a high mountain. And it is there that he manifests to them the real purpose of his passion, death and resurrection. They are not going to be the end. There is more to come, a most glorious future. And he transforms himself in their presence. He shows them his real glory and the glory they are called to participate in.

We also know what it means to face rejection suffering and even death. And we are also afraid; afraid of the uncertainty of the future, afraid of the possibility of rejection, suffering and death. As we move into this Lenten season, Jesus offers us hope and consolation. He knows that we, like the disciples at times, find ourselves looking for answers and hope. Answers, because at times, we seem to encounter darkness and doubt in our lives, and we need answers to questions that seem to be riddled with confusion. And hope, because darkness prevents us from making sense of our and others' lives.

The transfiguration of Jesus reminds us of what the last goal of our life will be: the total identification with the risen Lord in the kingdom of God. Our crosses, which at times seem to be meaningless, acquire their difficult to identify purpose, to share in the life and glory of the risen Christ. It is a difficult lesson to learn at times. We like the disciples will have to witness to the cross before arriving to the full knowledge of our lives meaning and purpose. There is no Easter Sunday without a Good Friday!

-fr. Alberto Rodriguez, O.P.