Quote of the day, 6 March: Silvio José Báez, ocd

Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone. There in their presence he was transfigured: his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared to them; they were talking with him. Then Peter spoke to Jesus. “Lord,” he said, “it is wonderful for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when suddenly a bright cloud covered them with shadow, and from the cloud there came a voice which said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favor. Listen to him.” When they heard this, the disciples fell on their faces, overcome with fear. But Jesus came up and touched them. “Stand up,” he said, “do not be afraid.” And when they raised their eyes they saw no one but only Jesus” (Mt 17:1-8).

When Jesus reached the top of the mountain, he was transfigured before the eyes of those three disciples: “his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light” (cf. Mt 17:2).

Jesus wanted that dazzling light, which anticipated his resurrection, to fill the disciples with strength and hope. Jesus wanted them to understand that pain, injustice, evil, and death do not have the last word in history.

They would soon experience the night of Jesus’ passion and death, and it was important that they go through that terrible night with the awareness that their darkness was not forever. No night in our lives lasts forever.

Jesus led those three disciples to the top of that mountain not to take them away from reality and forget about the problems, the fatigue, and the struggles of everyday life; he took them to that mountain so that they could distance themselves from reality and have a broader and deeper vision of life.

From the top of a mountain, the panorama is greater, the horizon broadens, and everything is seen in a different way.

It isn’t healthy to live alone in the plain below, in the plain of the everyday routine, conditioned by the urgency of each day, full of fear about the challenges of reality.

It’s necessary to get some distance and rise above the swamps of failure, mediocrity, and hopelessness. We must go up the mountain and leave behind for a moment the fears and sadness that paralyze us. We must climb the mountain and allow ourselves to be enlightened and transfigured by Jesus.

Sometimes we go through painful situations and dark moments that overwhelm us and seem to have no solution. Problems pile up, and we are frightened by unexpected illness and the loneliness of death.

On the journey of faith, we often feel that we lack strength, that the demands of love overwhelm us, and that even God seems to be silent.

In those moments we long for a light and a strength that allows us to gain a fresh look at things and helps us to see life and history from another perspective. At such moments it is important to distance ourselves from reality and go up the mountain with Jesus.

Transfiguration icon
By the hand of Deacon Paul Hommes
Photo: Jim Forest / Flickr (Some rights reserved)

Like Peter, James, and John, we too need to climb the mountain, over and over again, allowing the light of the Risen Lord to illuminate the darkness of our existence.

Enlightened by Christ’s paschal victory we’ll be able to see the light that hides discreetly in all of life’s darkness, we’ll be able to overcome our pessimism, and we won’t be crushed by our failures, nor closed in by our narrow human calculations.

Enlightened by the light of Jesus, we’ll be able to face reality with the confidence that God is always with us and that his love never abandons us, just as he never abandoned Jesus on the cross.

Contemplation of the beauty of Christ is the contemplation of God’s eternal and infinite love; there is no greater beauty.

The light of his love gives us a fresh look at life and history, the strength to continue fighting for a new world, and it doesn’t allow our hope to wither and fade.

Moments of prayer and silence to be with the Lord and look at him—the time we take to be with him and let his light transfigure us—these are not useless moments. They are more fruitful.

We need his light to lead an enlightened life. Illuminated by the light of Jesus, we will not be sowers of darkness or prophets of bad news—we already have too many of those—but we will humbly spread small glimmers of light wherever darkness seems to reign.

Silvio José Báez, o.c.d.

Auxiliary Bishop of Managua
Homily, Second Sunday of Lent, 5 March 2023

All scripture references are from The Jerusalem Bible Reader’s Edition, copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday & Company, Inc. as accessed from The Internet Archive website.

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