2nd Lenten Sunday (Note & Bulletin)

My favourite Memorial Acclamation in the Liturgy of the Eucharist is Option #3.  The people acclaim: “Save us, Saviour of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free.”  As Christians our goal is union with God, that is, God himself. And freedom is like the symptom or manifestation of growing closer to God.  Freedom is not our goal, but it can help us have a sense of the depth of God’s presence in our lives.  The less we feel ourselves rooted and grounded in Christ, the less free we feel.  Feeling free is something I’ve struggled with most of my adult life.  While the struggle may be less strong today than before, it still ‘rears its ugly head’ every so often.  For whatever reason, I always sought acceptance and affirmation from others in order to have a place in the world.  Other people needed to give me value or worth in order for me to feel that indeed I had both.  The consequence of this is that I always ended up feeling I needed to perform for others, to fulfill their expectations.  While we are not to live in isolation of others, nor are we to ignore the human desire for acceptance or affirmation, but we are not to become slaves or addicts to this desire.  If we let this desire take over our lives than we can lose a sense of who we are, both to ourselves and who we are for God.  It is coming to know who we are for God that will give us greater freedom because we allow him to draw closer to us.

This week we have the gospel of the Transfiguration of the Lord.  Jesus shows us his whole person, perfectly God and perfectly human.  His revelation is not merely about his will that we understand his identity.  I think he is also showing us who we are for him.  You don’t show your true self to people you don’t know, you don’t trust and you don’t love.  Rather, it is with those that you both love and in fact you want to love more deeply.  But love as we know, is a ‘two-way street’ –it is to be loved and to love back.  In the Transfiguration the Lord is seeking to love.  As love, however, is never forced, it is up to us to receive his love and to seek to love back.  We can only love back if we do as Jesus has done.  We must allow him to see our true and whole selves.  If we don’t, we only give him an image of who we think he wants us to be or who we think we should be.  But you can only admire an image, you can’t love it.  

The incomprehensible power of God’s love is not easy for us.  Like Abram there can be the feeling of “a deep and terrifying darkness” upon us.  Or, as with the three apostles, “they were terrified as they entered the cloud.”  It is not easy to allow God to see us.  We fear rejection, disappointment and condemnation.  Yet in the Transfiguration we can know that these fears have no foundation and are not a threat.  God in Christ is seeking to love us and to love us now.  He is not seeking the image of ourselves, but is seeking us.  Our freedom is a symptom or an indication that we are growing in his love.  The more we know his love is real for us the more we know it’s okay to be who we are, because in love, as St. John writes, “there is no fear of judgement.”  In the transfigured Christ we come to see and to know love and so the words of the psalmist are becoming more our own:  “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

God bless, and take care.

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