Peace! This second Sunday of Lent always brings us the story of the Transfiguration, because witnessing that event was part of the road to the Apostles’ conversion, and ours. God calls us to open our eyes, or more precisely, let the Spirit open them for us, so that we can see more of ‘what’s there.’ We all have limited vision: limited by our upbringing, our experiences, our character, our expectations. We can only see part of the truth, and need to be shown there is more. And to accept it.
Peter was expressing the temptation to not accept that vision. We often take his saying, “Let us build three booths,” as a sign that he wanted to hold on to the experience, didn’t want to leave. But I think another part of it was that he didn’t want the experience to end, because it meant he would have to look at the world differently, he would have to change once they climbed down from that mountain. And that frightened him. God’s call to see more is always frightening. Think of the ‘terrifying darkness’ that enveloped Abram as he heard God offer him the covenant. To see the world differently is frightening, because of what it does to our lives: turns them upside down.
Francis with the leper had this experience: his expectations we turned upside down. He had always seen lepers as the sign of God’s absence from the world. The fact that society rejected them meant that they were no concern of him. But in him embrace he suddenly saw them differently. They WERE a concern of his, and a sign not of God’s absence but his sweet presence. No wonder after his embrace, Francis tells us he still “lingered in the world” a little while. It’s not easy to get your bearing when God turns everything upside down.
But it’s worth it. Once the disciples were enveloped by that frightening cloud, they heard the voice. ‘This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him.” What better reason to listen to Jesus each day, to let him constantly shake us up with words like “Love your enemies.” And how good and great it is of God to be so patient, and let us come back again and again, since we forget the lesson so easily.
St. Francis, pray for us. Sts. Peter, James and John, ask God to grant us vision and hearts that are willing to see.
(P.S. Thank you for your prayers. My exams went well. God bless!