Desert experience.

Sunday, March 13th 2022 | By Rev. Michael P. Hanifin

In last week’s Gospel, we followed Jesus into the desert where He fasted and prayed. This week, He leads us up a mountain to witness His Transfiguration. Why both of these experiences?

He is preparing us to go with Him in a few short weeks to a hilltop — Golgotha — where He will lay down His life for our sake, and then finally to take us to an empty tomb where He triumphed over sin and death once and for all.

Jesus perfectly understands our humanity. He knows we need desert experiences — times of self-denial and testing — in order to arrive at mountain-top moments when we see and feel His glorious presence in our lives. The purpose of these two types of experiences is summed up in the description of the Apostles who were with Jesus at that mountain-top experience in today’s Gospel: “Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory….”

The reason for all of our fasting and prayer and almsgiving during the Lenten season is to be reawakened to all God has done for humanity, and to all that He has done for each of us personally. It is all too easy to get lulled into complacency in our daily routines, to “sleepwalk” through life, getting up and getting ourselves out the door, going to work, returning home for dinner and dishes, meetings, or sports activities, and finally flopping on the couch to watch TV until bedtime. While there is nothing inherently sinful in this routine, however Catholic Christians are called to do much more!

This Lent, let us train ourselves, or more precisely, allow Him to train us to say “Yes” to His will and to offer our lives back to Him in gratitude. In so doing, we, too, will become “transfigured.” This is what it means to live fully awake; this is a discipleship way of life Catholics are called to live and it is indeed glorious.