The Second Sunday of Lent gospel causes you and me to focus on a powerful epiphany of the true nature of Jesus: he is true man and true God. The Transfiguration is attractive to those of us who are actively ministering in our parish communities because of the presence of Peter, James and John. Just as Jesus called these three apostles to participate in His ministry, he has called each of us to participate in His ministry whether it is as a religious education director/coordinator, youth ministry director/coordinator, adult formation team member, catechist or parent. In what ways do you and I allow Jesus to take us up the mountain for a mystical encounter with Him; to see His glory and to hear His Father’s voice? If it has been awhile, perhaps Lent 2015 is the time?
When I first started moving from a volunteer form of lay ministry into a more formal and professional form of ministry, I encountered a prophet who reminded me that God is more interested in me and my growth in holiness than He is in my ministry (thanks to John Roberto.) What? Initially I rebelled against this idea because it seemed to contradict the entire reason for me being professionally formed into lay ministry. However, over the years, this insight has rooted me first as a disciple and second as a professional lay ecclesial minister. When I start thinking about “my ministry” and “my pastoral challenges” and “how well I did in this workshop or retreat” I realize that I need to let Jesus take me up the mountain and have a Transfiguration moment. I lost perspective and that is so easy for any of us because we have a passion for our faith and passing it onto others.
The transfiguration allows each of us a brief glimpse of God’s glory before we must return to the pathway towards Calvary. As a disciple of Christ you and I are also on this same path. We can’t stay on the mountain no matter how much we desire it. Peter is an image of us. He wants to build tents to anchor this experience as the rule and not the exception. When we have a Transfiguration experience we too want it to last. But this brief encounter with God’s glory is the same for you and me as it was with Peter, James and John. With that said though, it doesn’t mean we don’t plan these mystical encounters routinely into our lives. In fact, one negative way in which our ministry moves from Jesus centered to self centered is when we abandon a daily commitment to encountering Christ because we are too busy directing all the facets of “our” program.
How do you and I stay rooted:
- commit to daily prayer
- commit to Eucharistic devotion (Mass, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament)
- commit to participating in the Sacrament of Reconciliation
- commit to taking a 3 minute break with Jesus when stress levels increase
- commit to annually making a retreat whether it is in your parish, diocese or at a retreat center.
Below is one of my favorite hymns about the Transfiguration. It is from Bob Hurd and Anawim. Many blessings to you as we continue this Lenten journey together.
Second Sunday in Lent Reflection by John Gaffney, Diocesan Director of Evangelization and Catechesis.