February 25, 2024

 

Dear faithful parishioners,

As we gather on this Second Sunday of Lent, our hearts and minds are immersed in the profound mystery and wonder of our faith, illuminated by the Gospel of the Transfiguration of Jesus. This sacred event is not merely a historical account; it is a living testament to the hope and encouragement available to us, especially during trials, sufferings, or moments of weakened faith.

In the Gospel, we witness the extraordinary transformation of Jesus on Mount Tabor, where He shines with divine glory. This Christophany, revealing Jesus as the Son of God, surpasses even the greatest prophets, Moses and Elijah. It is a foretaste of the heavenly glory that awaits those who faithfully follow God’s will, reminding us that our current struggles are part of a larger, divine narrative.

Reflecting on this narrative of transfiguration of Jesus, I am reminded of a touching story shared by Dr. Peggy Hartshorn, president of Heartbeat International (www.heartbeatinternational.org). It’s about a woman, amidst the turmoil of deciding on an abortion, who experiences a profound revelation. During an ultrasound, she sees her unborn child, perfectly shaped and moving in her womb, and, in a miraculous moment, reaches out to touch the monitor. Mirroring her gesture, her baby stretches out its arm, their hands meeting across the screen. This powerful moment of connection transforms her decision, leading her to choose life. She kept the baby.

This story beautifully parallels the transformative power of the Transfiguration. Just as the woman glimpsed the mystery of life within her, the Apostles glimpsed the divine mystery of Jesus. These moments of revelation open our eyes to a reality much larger than our everyday existence, offering a transformative perspective that reshapes our understanding and actions.

Our sacramental life in the Church mirrors this transformative journey. Each Sacrament is an encounter with the divine mystery that profoundly changes us. In Baptism, we become children of God; in Confirmation, temples of the Holy Spirit; in Reconciliation, we are restored to righteousness. These are not just rituals; they are personal transfigurations that shape and mold our spiritual journey, akin to the Apostles’ experience on Mount Tabor.

In the Holy Mass, through the miracle of transubstantiation, we encounter the living Christ. The transformation of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus is an invitation for us to touch this mystery with our faith. Each Mass is a source of strength, reflecting the way Jesus’ Transfiguration fortified the Apostles.

Let us, in times of doubt or despair, remember this profound connection. The woman’s touch on the ultrasound screen was a touch of a greater mystery, much like our touch of the divine in the Sacraments. This touch has the power to transform our understanding, our actions, and our entire life’s journey.

As we continue our Lenten journey, let us remain focused on Jesus. His Transfiguration serves as a beacon of hope and strength, reminding us of the glorious transformation that awaits us. Let us embrace every sacramental encounter with open hearts, allowing these experiences to transform, encourage, and strengthen us, especially in moments of darkness and fear.

In Christ’s transformative love,

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham