Getting a New Mind and Heart-Week 2
March 1, 2015
Second Sunday of Lent
Last week, we saw how the ministry of angels can help us have a new mind and a new heart. Today, in the opening prayer, we started out by asking God for new “Spiritual Sight”- a new mind and a new heart. In our Gospel, Jesus gives Peter, James, and John Spiritual sight-a glimpse into who He really is and what He does for us.
Before I talk about this inner reality of Jesus, I would like to make a comparison. When we look at someone’s face, we see an outward reality. We notice their skin, hair, eyes, etc. Dermatologists can even analyze the cells and chemical reactions. But we often want to see more than that. When we look at a person’s smile or facial expressions, we are looking to see who they really are.
Something similar happened in the gospel. The Transfiguration gave Peter, James, and John a glimpse of Jesus. It also gives us a glimpse of Jesus- of who He is. It reveals His glory-as well as the reason for His coming and what He does for us. Jesus, of course, orders Peter, James, and John not to say anything about this until after the Resurrection. In a sense, the Transfiguration points to the cross.
We see the cross in the first reading. God tells Abraham to take his only son and offer him in sacrifice. Why would God do this? It seems so inhumane and horrible, and people have puzzled over it for centuries.
I have no answer to that question, but let me say this. We all have pain and suffering that must be seen in relation to the cross. Isaac, Abraham’s son, walks up Mt. Moriah carrying something on his back-wood. Doesn’t this sound like someone else we know-perhaps someone who had to carry wood on his back to Calvary?
There is something else. God sees Abraham’s faithfulness, and at the last moment intervenes and makes things right. God the Father does not stop Jesus’ death, but He does do something else-He raises Jesus from the dead! The Transfiguration prepares Peter, James, and John for the cross and the Resurrection.
I will speak more about the cross during this homily series. Nevertheless, the question I have for you all is this-how do we make sense of the suffering in the world and in our own lives? I have no answer for that, but we can learn a lot from the Saints and other holy people who dealt with suffering. With that in mind, I would like to share the story of one man who provides an incredible witness to this. This man had undergone painful surgery, which involved the removal of two cervical vertebrae. For five years, this man suffered excruciating pain before the operation, yet whenever he encountered anyone, he never complained. I should mention that this man has a very public job-as the Archbishop of Seattle! He is Archbishop Peter Sartain. He has not suffered in silence-rather, he chooses to praise God in all things.
To praise God in all things, we need spiritual sight-a new mind and a new heart. Only when we see Jesus and his cross, and the purpose for it, that we can make sense of suffering.
More about that next week. For now, let us ask God for the spiritual sight to truly see-to see the reality of Jesus and His cross, that we may truly rejoice and behold His glory.