Peoria, Tazewell, And Woodford: Here, There & Everywhere

Second Sunday of Lent Reflection by Ted Wolgamot, Psy. D


While Jesus was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white.” Lk 9:29


What if …

What if … the Transfiguration, so powerfully described in today’s gospel, was not really about a dramatic, dazzling change in Jesus, but was instead about the radical change that took place in the apostles – they could see Jesus differently?

What if … today’s gospel is really about transfigurations that take place in the lives of people around us – the kind of changes that make us ask ourselves: why haven’t I done the same?

What if … this classic story we heard today is ultimately a tale about you and me – and about moments in our life when God opened the eyes of our souls and we were able to recognize the divine within and around us?

I remember many years ago taking a course in theology that changed my whole understanding of God. It was a stunning experience. It was like a veil had been lifted – a kind of “transfiguration.”

I could see differently.

Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk, tells the story about how he was doing something as simple as standing on a street corner in downtown Louisville when a transfiguration experience happened to him. The city and the people walking around began to glow. “There is no way of telling people that they are walking around shining like the sun.” What he discovered in that moment was that “the gate of heaven is everywhere!”

Perhaps what today’s gospel is trying to get us to see is that the Transfiguration of Jesus isn’t a spectacular special effects incident that took place a long time ago. It’s instead a sweet glimpse of heaven that can come to any of us right now.

If we can see it.

It can happen to a mother, for example, when she first views the baby she gave birth to. It can happen to a person reading scripture when suddenly their eyes open wide at words that speak to a deep place within them. It can happen while listening to a great symphony or enjoying a walk on a brilliant autumn day or watching the delight of children on a Christmas morning or standing in awe before a masterful piece of art.

Transfiguration moments are experiences of enchantment that open our everyday mind to the heaven that is already present.

If we can see it.

Scripture describes these moments continually. The Acts of the Apostles, for example, tells us Transfiguration is the awareness that “we live and move and have our being in God.” It is the gift of wisdom that Moses received when he too went up on a mountain, just like the apostles in today’s story, and realized he was “standing on holy ground.” What Moses also grasped was that the famous “burning bush” he saw was not an earthen plant on fire, but the gift of vision in his eyes.

Like the apostles in today’s gospel, he could see differently.

To again quote Thomas Merton, “Life is this simple: we are living in a world that is transparent and the divine is shining through it all the time.”

If we can see it.

Unfortunately, again like the apostles in today’s gospel, we are often asleep. Consequently, we tend to miss the clues, the hints, the suggestions of Something being afoot that is beyond our everyday recognition, Something that is way more than what meets the eye.

This is what Lent is really all about: a time to sharpen our inner eyes so that we can better see the “holy ground” in our lives.

It’s a time to prayerfully ask:

What if …

What if I can truly be transfigured?

What would that look like?





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This entry was posted on February 19, 2016 by in Uncategorized.
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