We may assume that human civilizations are on their way to steady progress and that positive human capacity is unstoppable, but there are signs and events that may prove otherwise. The ongoing human disasters and destructions in the Middle East, the nuclear threats of North Korea and others, the struggles for equality and democracy in many parts of the world, and the tragic consequences of migrants from Africa and Latin America erase all the illusions about our blind assumptions and expectations. These devastations make us realize the transient nature of our existence on this planet, which is destined for new life prepared by God who created us and loves us.
The transfiguration of Jesus is a reality-check in the middle of all the negative events. When Jesus was dazzlingly transfigured before the eyes of the inner circle of his disciples, the voice from the cloud declared: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”
Jesus will be manhandled by the domestic and foreign authorities. He will be scorned and ridiculed by ordinary people, and even betrayed by his people. Eventually he will suffer the most dreadful and humiliating death before the jeering crowd. But make no mistake. He is God’s precious and beloved Son. In him we find the way, the truth, and the life. Through him the world will have hope and future. That is the reality.
During Lent, we turn away from our illusions. We try to leave our confusion behind and are invited to peer into the reality that leads us to the life full of meaning and peace.
Through baptism we have gone through a profound and radical transformation. But this change is a living dynamic reality, which needs to be implemented and re-actualized daily. Hence we pray for a renewal of baptismal grace and try to return to God’s grace and His vision.
Today our catechumens and candidates for full communion with the Catholic Church are formally elected by Cardinal Wuerl at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. They have been experiencing gradual changes through the process of RCIA (Rites of Christian Initiation of Adults). As Jesus shows us his true identity in the event of the transfiguration, may we also realize our God-given identity and vocation as Jesus’ brothers and sisters and the temples of the Holy Spirit! Please pray for them so that they may remain joyful, steadfast, and faithful in our common journey to God.
Yours truly in Christ,
Fr. Paul D. Lee