Celebrated By Archbishop Denis Hart
at St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne
on Sunday, 4th March, 2007 at 11.00am
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Jesus took Peter, James and John to the mountain to strengthen them to confront his Passion.
In Lent we are invited to go through a journey onwards to destiny, glorious in its outcome, challenging and inspiring, as we move along the way.
God promises us glory and new life. We promise God the challenge of dying to self and entering into a time of striving.
Jesus himself, our transfigured Lord, is the great promise of life and destiny. What will be our answer? Yes Lord, I believe, or no, I will not serve.
As we call to mind our sins, let us open our minds and hearts to the grace of Christ.
“I have a journey sir, shortly to go; my master
calls me, I must not say no.”
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
These words of the Earl of Kent uttered in the closing scene of Shakespeare’s King Lear challenge us through prayer, fasting and works of love to continue our annual little journey of Lent. The call that Jesus receives from his Father bids him go apart from the world to prepare for the mission he is given – to suffer, to die, to rise again that we might have life.
Today’s Gospel of the Transfiguration reminds us that Jesus is light for our life. He invites us like him to die and rise again. He challenges us on our journey to be mindful of God, of others and of the promises God has made to us and we to him.
The French mathematician and philosopher, Blaise Paschal, lived over three hundred years ago. In the closing years of his life he spoke about his own search for faith: “In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadow to blind those who don’t.”
In slightly humorous terms the comedienne Ellen DeGeneres said: “In the beginning there was nothing. God said, ‘Let there be light!’ and there was light. There was still nothing, but you could see it a whole lot better.”
The Transfiguration enabled Peter, James and John to see things a whole lot better. They came to discover who Jesus really was and in that discovery they had come to see the light. Lent is a time of journey, of going apart from our ordinary life and this is why I have recommended that every one of us spend some time in Lent reflecting on the Way of the Cross or reading over and again the Passion story of Jesus.
Reality then may not be the events of every day with which we crowd out the big questions. The reality is God’s limitless love for us, the evil of personal sin in our lives and the invitation God gives us to prayer, fasting and works of love to turn back to him and, in fact, to reality; prayer, which makes us speak the words of God, fasting which distracts our attention from those things which preoccupy us – food, comfort, entertainment – and allowing God to occupy us so that we will be totally focussed on God, the Other, and on God, as seen in our brothers and sisters.
That is why in the prayer of the Mass we pray that we will be enlightened by God’s Word, we will know the Lord as my light and my salvation, we will follow the rule of life given by Saint Paul and, above all, in our prayer, in our life, the words of the Father: “This is my Son, the Chosen One, listen to him”, will echo in our heart.
We, who live an earthly existence, yet long for the things of heaven, know that in the lives of man