Friday, March 18, 2011
The key to our own personal transfiguration
We commonly look at the attitude of Peter, basically by the words that he pronounced in that post resurrection or resurrection anticipation story of the Transfiguration, as someone who is stupid, speaks without thinking first what to say, as spontaneous, as someone who doesn't understand what is being revealed. We commonly hear negative commentaries on that. And yet he is considered to be representing the leadership in and of the Church.
That which was shared last night was something positive. Perhaps it is not a strong position that is held by many or not even known, but I'll buy it for a change and add my own personal reflections on it.
Peter said "Lord, it is well that we are here; if you wish I will make three booths here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." Taking into consideration that this is a post resurrection story or an anticipation of the Glorified Christ, the three booths could mean a lot of things. It could be making the divine, the law, the prophecy to be permanently present in the church; or it could be that the Christian community is ordered to live what is written in the law, what the prophets have said, and of the teachings of Jesus, etc. What caught my attention, and that which I have never thought of, is that the booths could be associated with the three theological virtues that the church teaches. In the desire to make three booths in the mountain, Peter, the church, is founding its three theological virtues in the mountain. The church roots its Faith, Hope, and Charity in "the mountain of Mt. Tabor", in the Glorified Christ.
Jesus, the savior, the redeemer, the Son of God, etc. - we need to have FAITH in Him in order to accept and integrate in our lives these acclamations. Anyone who has faith in him has faith in God the Father. He is the subject and predicate of our faith. He strengthens us "in our faith," strengthens "our faith," strengthens "the faith."
Moses on the other hand, gave HOPE to his people. He gave hope of freedom from slavery. He showed hope and became the icon of hope to the people. He strengthened the people to hope for the promise land, strengthened "their hopes," strengthened "the hope."
Elijah was a man of CHARITY. Remember the story of the widow of Zarephath? Elijah tells her that God will not allow her supply of flour or oil to run out, saying, "Don't be afraid..this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land," illustrating that the demand of the covenant is not given without the promise of the covenant. Some time later, the widow's son dies. Moved by a faith like that of Abraham, Elijah prays that God might restore her son so that the veracity and trustworthiness of God's word might be demonstrated. He strengthened her "to be charitable" despite her poverty, make her "believe that God is charitable," "showed the strength of God's charity to his people."
Peter was before the icons of FAITH, HOPE, and CHARITY. Building tents for each is just like saying that this should be permanent in our christian communities. Later, I realize that in the new testament Peter talks about TRUE FAITH; James talks about TRUE HOPE; and John completely talks about TRUE LOVE.
The three were before three but later only one was left standing before them - Jesus. We are all left to build our own houses on the rock, on a firm foundation where all three virtues are present. The Glorified Christ is not just simply the source and meta of our FAITH, he is at the same time the HOPE of our salvation, the sacrament of God's CHARITY, the sacrament of LOVE.
FAITH, HOPE, and CHARITY - sources of strength of a Christian in good times and in bad times. We should be building ourselves in these three virtues. It is what we should be having when asked to abandon our past, our homeland, our securities, our defenses, our own interests. What would help us transform from "Abram" to "Abraham" (1st Reading) is our true faith in God, our unceasing hope in him, and our being charitable as he is to us. If you are a Christian, do not be ashamed in testifying to our Lord (2nd Reading) even if it will also cost your life.
In this season of Lent, learn how to have Faith and live it. Hope and never be despaired. Be charitable, share. Do not be afraid if you will share the same fate of that man in the Gospel that you will hear four weeks from now. "FAITH, HOPE, and CHARITY" is the key to our own personal transfiguration.