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A little cheer up

The feast of the Transfiguration comes in the middle of our Lenten preparation and could well be looked upon as a boost injected into possibly flagging spirits, something to cheer people up and give them something to hope for in the future.

This in all probability is a role that it played for the three disciples who were present.

In some ways, the story carries hints predicting the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, for it is likely that Jesus took the three disciples up the mountain for some quiet prayer.

Just as happened then, this experience certainly had a profound effect upon Peter, James and John. Peter’s reaction to the evident wonder of God’s glory in and through Jesus, prompted his desire to honour Jesus and praise God. But just as elsewhere in the New Testament, Peter’s faith is overcome by his fear, especially when the enormity of this interaction and the full realisation of Jesus’ divinity as God’s Son overwhelm them.

It is Jesus, who quickly lifts them up and restores their peace, by saying, “Do not be afraid.”

Such an experience would have us believe that there must be nothing after that would shake the disciples’ faith in Jesus. But we know that after Gethsemane the disciples fled and Peter denied even knowing who Jesus was.

Such a wonderful experience did not protect the disciples from their own fears and the dangers of discipleship. At times we may also have moments of great consolation in God’s love, but we need to recall them when anxiety and fears beset us and our own faith seems to recede into the darkness.

It is precisely then that we need to recall Jesus’ words to us, “Stand up, do not be afraid.”

A quotation from an unknown author runs like this, “When you have thanked the Lord for every blessing he has sent,

But little time will then remain for murmur and lament.”

During Lent, we are called to look at many aspects of our lives, as well as ways in which we can contribute to the welfare of others.

Lent has been described in the past as being a period in which we concentrate upon our sins, frailty and mortality; a period in which we recall that we are wretched sinners.

However, the feast of the Transfiguration reminds us of what else is on offer as a disciple of Jesus. It is a reminder that we always have his support and love, every moment of every day.

So let us try this week to continue our Lenten preparation, not with an attitude of fear, but in the joy of the Lord who goes before us.

Pope Francis tells us in his latest work, The Joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium, No. 39), “Before all else, the gospel invites us to respond to the God of love who saves us, to see God in others and to go forth from ourselves to seek the good of others.”

 

λ Diocese of Sandhurst