READINGS: Genesis 22: 1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18; Romans 8: 31b-34; Mark 9: 2-10.
Who hasn’t made the traditional “New Year’s Resolutions’ for self-improvement? Or who has not dreamed of the day when not shackled by some bad habit, sinful inclination, or a character flaw? We all do and, as Americans, concern about ‘self-help’ has been rooted in our culture for a very long time as anyone can see in any bookstore which offers a variety of self-improvement books. Who does not want to be better either as a person or professionally or in relationships with others?
Have you ever wondered why we have this desire for self-betterment? As far as we know no polar bear is in angst over its inability to cope in warm climes nor does a dog practice its squirrel hunting techniques. Perhaps deep within our souls is a desire for more beauty, more love, and an accompanying need to mold ourselves to be better, more loving, and act with beauty in our world. A desire which causes our imagination to dream of ‘what ifs’ and one which can lead us to frustration or put us on a slow lifelong path to conversion.
Today’s Gospel reading is about the Transfiguration of the Lord on Mount Tabor and tells how before the eyes of Peter, James, and John Jesus was transformed to reveal his divine glory. An instantaneous change that shows us symbolically that Christ offers us the chance for real change. Through Christ over a lifetime we can be transformed, perhaps not into our own image of the perfect ‘self’ but into who we are in God’s eyes. But such transformation is never instantaneous nor just a matter of doing it on our own. For Christians, ‘self-help’ begins with a humble realization of our humanity in its wonderfulness, weakness, and fragility. We are dependent on God and are never gods. We have to develop new habits and realizations for personal ‘self-help’ but this would be futile without the ongoing grace (support, encouragement, enlightenment) of God.
So, during this Second Sunday of Lent let us pray for the grace to deepen relationships, drop useless fears, love more intensely and heal brokenness in our hearts. Christ is the healer and the One who points us to ‘self-help’.
Please remember during this Lent to continue supporting the Mission Doctors who bring healing to Christ’s poor. God bless you and Happy Second Sunday of Lent.