Reflection by: Kati Macaluso, Ph.D. - Director of ACE Advocates; Faculty, ACE Teaching Fellows
Last Sunday, we were driven into the desert with Christ. And perhaps a great many of us are walking into this second Sunday of Lent feeling as anyone would feel traversing desert terrain. We are dried up, thirsty for those things we have chosen to sacrifice, exhausted from resisting temptation. It’s not insignificant, then, that this week we are led to a mountaintop. It is as though Jesus hears the question we all ask at some point in our most desert-like days, "What on earth is the point of this faith-driven spiritual and physical exertion anyway?” Hearing our doubt, Jesus lifts us out of the desert and onto a mountain where we gain clarity, and where not only Christ himself, but also our everyday trials, tribulations, and tasks, are transfigured before us. As Christ’s clothes become what Mark describes a “dazzling white,” we too are enlightened.
At this stage in our Lenten journey—a mere microcosm of our longer life’s journey—we realize that, provided we are willing to be led by Christ and to heed to the voice of God, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him,” all is not ashes and desert sand. We see in Christ’s transfiguration a flash of his divinity, and in that mystical display, we realize more clearly than ever the narrative arc that defines our lives. The transfiguration is a reminder that Christ is actually God become Man, so that each of us—man and woman—might return to God.
In witnessing the literal transfiguration of Christ, our everyday routines and relationships are themselves transfigured. Reminded that Christ is God become Man so that we might one day return to God, we see past the ordinary into the extraordinary. We see the spiritual significance of what might otherwise seem just a routine day at the office, or a sleepless night with a newborn, or a friendly exchange with the crossing guard we pass each morning. As we tend to our jobs, our families, our students, and even our enemies this week, let us take to heart Peter’s sentiments, “It is good that we are here—on whatever path God has placed us at a given point in time.” After all, this life is not our own earthly project. It is part of God’s mystical design, and life as we know it will be transfigured if we can remember to live according to this transformed vision.