Second Sunday of Lent Year A March 20th, 2011

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Dear Friends

The word transfiguration means a change in form or appearance. Biologists call it metamorphosis (derived from the Greek word metamorphoomai used in Matthew’s gospel), to describe the change that occurs when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. As children we might have curiously watched the process of the caterpillar turning into a chrysalis and then bursting into a beautiful Monarch butterfly. Fr. Anthony De Mello tells the story of such a metamorphosis in the prayer life of an old man. “I was a revolutionary when I was young and all my prayer to God was: ‘Lord, give me the grace to change the world.’ As I approached middle age and realized that half of my life was gone without changing a single soul, I changed my prayer to: ‘Lord, give me the grace to change all those who come in contact with me; just my family and friends and I shall be satisfied.’ Now that I am old and my days are numbered, I have begun to see how foolish I have been. My one prayer now is: ’Lord, give me the grace to change myself.’ If I had prayed for this right from the start, I should not have wasted my life.”

In each Holy Mass our offering of bread and wine becomes transformed into the body and blood of Jesus. Hence, just as the transfiguration strengthened the apostles in their time of trial, each Holy Mass should be our source of heavenly strength against our own temptations and a source of renewal of our lives during Lent. In addition, communion with Jesus should be a source of daily transformation of both our minds and hearts. We must also be transformed by becoming more humble and selfless, sharing love, compassion and forgiveness with others. But in our everyday lives, we often fail to recognize Jesus when he appears to us “transfigured,” hidden in someone who is in some kind of need. Jesus will be happy when we attend to the needs of that person. We must see Jesus in every one of our brothers and sisters, the children of God we come across each day.