Commentary on the Gospel of

Joan Blandin Howard-Creighton University's Retired

Lent – the season of joyful transformation

Where does it lead?

Remember the first time riding a “two wheeler” without training wheels or a helping hand.   White knuckled, mouth and eyes agape - the terrifying freedom of flying solo!  Wanting to go on and on and fearing how to stop. 

Remember the first time standing on an ocean shore with toes curled in ever shifting sands, looking out with wonder at the  profound weight and ever undulating swell.   Filled with inexpressible awe and exuberance.  Dreading yet tempted to venture into the froth. 

Remember the first time standing on the precipice of a mountain gazing down onto the majestic expansive earth far below.   Or stars on a moonless night! A feast for the eyes that could never fully quench the thirst of the soul.  

Remember the first time sitting with a dying parent, sibling, child, friend or stranger.  Sharing a meal with a hungry, homeless person.  Attending to the child pleading, “help me, I lost my mother.”

Witnessing a mother give birth.   Holding one’s child for the first time.  Poets’ words fail to capture the inexpressible. 

Consecrating and offering the Eucharist for the first time.  A Jesuit priest tired to describe the profound and overwhelming sense of community, oneness, wholeness that enveloped him.

Making love to your spouse for the first time -  lovingly, tenderly yet cautiously reaching out to the other. An expansion of self - touching, holding the other in gentle reverence.

Experiences we hold in our hearts – of the real, tangible presence of God.   These are experiences of transformation and revelation.   Today’s reading from Matthew’s gospel tells of Peter, James and John being present to Jesus being “transfigured.”   We are not told directly, but must know that Peter, James and John, not transfigured, but most definitely were transformed by their experience.  We can only imagine.

We can imagine, because in our own lives we have experienced degrees of transformation.  Every day experiences provide opportunity, the possibility for transformation.  It happens to us all the time!  To experience the fullness of freedom – no matter the age or the actual experience, predisposes us to greater and more meaningful experiences of freedom.  Genuine freedom whets our appetite for greater, richer and more intimate freedom.  Experiences of awe, wonder, fascination, thrill, tenderness, caring and love – fill us with deep yearning for the fuller, richer – a deep yearning for the more.  The More of God.    With each experience I am transformed.

What captivates us is that God gently transforms, revealing to me more and more about myself while drawing me closer and closer to Godself.  My thirst and desire for these holy consolations of God, graciously given are what keep our relationship maturing.  An experience of God,  an experience of who I am in the heart of God draws me closer and closer, deeper and deeper into Love and in love with all life offers.

The Goodnews:  a kid on a bike, a new mom or dad, the mountain climber, the beachcomber,  the lover, the dreamer, the poet and songster,  the homeless, the abandoned, the orphan, the widow, the refugee, the forgotten, you and me – all of us are privy each day to being transformed  into a richer, more real image of Jesus.

Where does it lead?  It all leads to fuller, richer life, to Love, to God. 

Lent is the season of joyful transformation.

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