The world is aglow with vision experiences. Have you noticed the glow of pride on the faces of those who have reached out to help others, the sparkle in the eyes of children when they are praised, the gaze of joy on the faces of parents as they behold their infant child, or the glow of contentment on the face of spouses who have shared much of their lives together? These are the vision experiences that remind us of the transforming power of love.
If we are observant, we have had vision experiences that have impacted every segment of our world. Seasons change terrain, violent weather dramatically alters landscapes, age and sickness change appearance, and lifestyle and personal interests change images. Caught in time---an inspiring song, a wedding glance, or a parent’s worried face, can profoundly change us. While these transformations vary in significance, they share a common characteristic: the changes they generate are usually external in nature.
Every human transformation impacts our physical appearance, and may or may not affect our spiritual vision. In today’s Gospel, we celebrate the transfigured view of Jesus. “And He [Jesus] was transfigured before them and his clothes became dazzling white such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.” This radiant vision revealed not a poor carpenter in peasant clothing, but someone aglow by the indwelling of God. For his disciples, this was not a sudden apparition, but the recognition that their teacher and friend was much more than he had seemed.
Indeed, what was transfigured was not Jesus himself, but the disciples’ vision of him. For the first time they saw what they had never seen before, but what had always been there. They saw Jesus as divine, as Savior, and as prophet. This mountaintop vision, uncommon as it was, only lasted for a brief time, and then vanished as the routine of every-day life returned.
These glimpses of the holy have continued to occur down through the ages. Saint Elizabeth of Hungry was said to give off a bright halo of light, people who have been in Pope John Paul’s presence have experienced a lasting impression of holiness, and the TV crew that videotaped Mother Teresa a few years before her death, discovered that her image in a darkened room appeared vivid and bright. Wherever we experience the holy, we become keenly aware of its presence. We may even begin to see holiness shine through the every-day events of our lives.
We might want a quicker, faster route to holiness, but never fear, the Lenten terrain will keep changing---desert one minute, mountain the next. If we keep one foot in front of the other, our faithfulness will be rewarded by glorious moments along the way, when Christ springs brilliantly into view. In the unfolding events of our lives, in the faces of those whom we meet, and in the lives whom we touch, we become transformed. Strengthened by faith and fueled by love, each of us, reveals the mystery and richness of ourselves, and allows our divinity to glow for others to see. At these times, our vision, tricky though it may be, becomes crystal clear and our world is never the same.
----Deacon Wilson Shierk