TRANSFIGURED INTO OPERATING WITHIN GOD’S PLAN
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
1st Reading: Gen15:5-12. 17-18; Psalm: 27. R.v. 1a; 2nd Reading: Phil3:17-4:1; Gospel: Lk 9:28b-36
God’s covenant with Abram in the first reading of today marked the beginning of a new era in the history of salvation. The use of the heavenly bodies – the stars and the cloud in both the first and gospel readings are indicative of our realm of origin and our final destination. With the image of the stars of heaven God revealed to Abram how plentiful his descendants would be. This suggests that this dialogue between God and Abram transpired at night-time. It also further explains the necessary mark of darkness that surrounds the progenies of Adam and Eve after the fall. Even the righteousness of Abram couldn’t expunge this dark cloud. It was also revealing to know that the inheritance of Abram and his descendants as sealed by Divine Covenant was the earth: The Lord said “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates.” (Gen 15:18).
In the gospel, it was a different kind of dialogue. A broad shift from that of Abram. A shift that stretched across the Mosaic and the Prophetic times and reached its climax in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the focal point of this dialogue. This was no longer a dialogue of generational fecundity as was the time of Abram but that of generational salvation. The pureness of Jesus’ garment and the clouds of heaven are indications of the outcome of Jesus’ passion and death which will purify us and admit us into the clouds of heaven. Heaven becomes our inheritance and not anything earthly. But then, we would have to heed the command: “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” (Lk 9:35)
Have we ever thought of why God would have to wait this long before sending his Son Jesus Christ to save us? The transfiguration encounter ratified the impending death of Jesus in Jerusalem. It took generations upon generations, and hundreds of years to reach this point of Jesus choosing to go the way of suffering. Something went wrong leading to a generational defect yet God took his time before finally choosing to right the wrong. This divine patience of God while Abraham’s descendants multiplied with the smear of sin was overly but necessarily protracted. It was a long journey from the wilderness of sin under the guidance of the Law, the exhortative voice of the prophets, and finally the salvific mission of Jesus Christ as God waited patiently. What a long time to wait!
God promised Abraham a vast descendant yet he delayed until Abraham was hundred before he gifted him Isaac. Jesus was to reveal himself to Peter, James and John but had to wait until they endured the pain of climbing the mountain to the top. Jesus came to die to save us but had to wait until he tutored his apostles enough to carry on from where he stopped. Can we patiently wait? For us, within these periods of waiting lies the sentiment of doubt, the tension of impatience, and the tendency of despair. Yet it is still within this same period that God puts together the packages he has for us. ‘Delay is dangerous’ doesn’t apply in the divine scheme; delay is in the operative manual of God. We call it delay. God calls it divine plan.
In this period of Lent, we have to learn to operate within the ambience of God’s divine plan. Some of us may have started the journey of renouncing a particular habit of sin. We journey through the struggle of renouncing the appetite for that habitual sin, and end up falling again. Then the feeling of despondency sets in because we wanted an immediate end to that habitual sin. C’mon; don’t give up. It is a gradual process. Even in our weakness God is still at work in us. Keep on trying. Are we asking a favour from God and yet no ‘green light’? Be patient, let your hope not fail; your package may be at the corner.
From the first to the gospel reading of today, we see a transition from the darkness of the night filled with the tiny stars of hope to the brightness of the day covered with the bright clouds of salvation. This was God’s divine plan gradually unravelled within a lengthened period of time. God’s plan must surely come to pass. It is just a matter of time. Let your hope not wither. Just wait patiently.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, help us to co-operate with God’s divine plan for us. Amen.
Happy Second Sunday of Lent