Please forgive the lateness of this post. I am giving a parish mission and tried to schedule it for publication, but it did not go out! Here is is.
"Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them." Mk 9:2
Conversion is a slow process. We need many reminders that we are God's people and that God is always with us. Like almost anything else we learn in life, we "get faith" for a while and then lose it. Because daily life often confuses and challenges us with questions about suffering, death, poverty and hunger, we forget who we are, and seasons like Lent are necessary to help us return to the "straight and narrow" path of Jesus.
Today the transfiguration of Jesus is like a Lent for the apostles. Jesus has been slowly letting the apostles know who he is, and today he makes it absolutely clear that he is the fulfillment of the prophets. One might say that it is the "baptism" of the apostles.
At the very beginning of Mark's gospel, Jesus is baptized, and as he comes out of the waters of the Jordan he hears God say, "You are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased." (Mk 1:11) Today's gospel ends in a similar way, but this time the voice from the cloud is addressed to the apostles. "This is my beloved son, listen to him." (Mk 9:8)
Because the apostles now know that Jesus is God's son, even if they cannot yet put their minds completely around the revelation, they have new responsibilities. God is readying them for their mission, and while their obligation to announce Good News will be delayed, they will soon be God's messengers and message.
Our own faith life and Lenten journey are similar. We have moments of pristine clarity and insight, and then the fog returns and we can hardly see where we are going. Not being afraid of this process is the key to completing our pilgrimage. Conversion lasts our entire life and while we might lose our way, God never loses sight of us.
Today, try to remember a moment of transfiguration, when you knew exactly who you were.
What has been your experience of conversion into Christ?