REFLECTION FOR THE SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT 2013
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REFLECTION FOR THE SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT 2013
Today’s Gospel story of the transfiguration of Jesus focuses on the change in His appearance. Saint Matthew’s Gospel account says “His face shone like the sun and His garments became white as light”. Saint Luke’s account says “the appearance of His face became different and His clothing became white and gleaming.” The connection between God and light is found in the early Scripture writings about Moses. God got Moses’ attention by means of the burning bush, an unusual light in the desert since the bush was not consumed by the fire. During the time the Israelites were journeying in the desert. God’s reassuring presence was made known by a pillar of flame. The Sanctuary lamp in our churches represents the real presence of Christ in the tabernacle just as the eternal flame represented the presence of God in the Temple in Jerusalem. The association of light with God is an ancient belief and today’s Gospel reading is a reminder that one day we will see Jesus in His glorified state just as He shared that vision with Peter, James and John on the mountain top.
But how are we supposed to apply the knowledge of God’s light to our own lives? Lent is the ideal time for us to focus on the places in our life and our sphere of influence where there is darkness. Jesus has told us that we are we are to be the light of the world even as He is the light of the world. It can be confusing to read both of those statements because we wonder how it is that we can be that light when Jesus has told us that He is the light. We can have confidence in the truth of both statements since both are the words of Jesus Himself. In John 8:12, Jesus says “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
In Chapter 5 of Saint Matthew’s Gospel, we read these words that Jesus spoke: “You are the light of the world. Your light must shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly father.” If we read those words over we will find the answer to the puzzle of how it is that we can be “the light” when Jesus has told us that He is “the light”. The answer is hidden in plain sight. See what Jesus says right after He announces that He is the light. He tells us that we who follow Him will “have the light of life”. He IS our light. We are not “the light” on our own merits, but only because we are His followers does He allow us to be filled with His light which He tells us is the “light of life”.
The Jewish scriptures, in Psalm 27:1 reveal that same knowledge in these words: “The Lord is my light and my salvation.” In 1 John, we see the same theme repeated: “Now this is the message that we have heard from Him and proclaim to you: God is light and in him there is no darkness at all……If we walk in the light as he is in the light then we have fellowship with one another.”
The penance and fasting discipline of the Lenten season is meant to strengthen us so that we do not remain in darkness, but allow God to fill us with His light so that we can put the words of Romans 13:12 into practice. They are prophetic words which, while they were written a very long time ago, seem to have been written about the present day. “The night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.”
So, renewing our resolve to begin again if we have failed to keep to our Lenten discipline, we enter the second week of Lent. Rather than allowing ourselves to feel defeated and giving in to the temptation to just give up and say, “Ah, I can’t do this. Why bother trying?”, we can resolve to begin again. And, take courage because we have been given a powerful tool to help us make it through the next few weeks. What is that tool?
Picture yourself getting dressed tomorrow morning and there, over in the corner so bright that you have to shade your eyes to approach it, stands your armor of light. God has placed it within your grasp. Strap in on! Walk out into each day knowing that Jesus has given you His promise……”Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
We do not fight the fight alone….We must allow our light to shine before others “that they see our good deeds and glorify your heavenly father.” Here is what we can do during the coming weeks. We can get up each day. We can look up. We can “suit up” in our armor of light. Then the light we will radiate is the light of Christ. We are His warriors in the effort to defeat the darkness. If we all do this, everyone will have to wear their sunglasses!
So let’s pray for each other during the week. Look around you during the week and see if you notice others wearing their armor of light! Don’t forget your sunglasses!