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Pastor's Letter 20220313 - 13 March 2022 - Lift Up Your Hearts to God

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March 13th, 2022

Second Sunday of Lent


Transfiguration of Christ

A Message from Father Michael

Today’s Theme:  Lift Up Your Hearts to God” 

Reflections on Today’s Scripture

In our First Reading, we learn of the solemn covenant between God and Abraham, which is fundamental for an understanding of God’s relationship with Israel (Genesis 15:5-18.) at the exodus, God recalls the covenant with Abraham and the patriarchs, and in His faithfulness, saves Israel from bondage.  The concept of “land” would become spiritualized to mean the plentitude of Messianic promises, the Kingdom of Heaven. As leader of a new people, Abraham would lead them through the desert of this world to their eternal rest, to the real land of promise—heaven. 


Even the early Churches were not without fault, despite special graces.  Christianity is indeed liberty, but it is freedom to live the Christian life, to come to know Christ and the power of His resurrection; it is the power to conquer sin and live in Christ, which was given by the Spirit of the risen Savior; it is the freedom to live a life in God’s friendship, which leads to the resurrection from the dead. Paul relates to the Philippians (Philippians 3:17-4:1,) that Christians have dual citizenship: as citizens of heaven, they should perform their duties as worthy of the Gospel, setting their minds on their real homeland; while on earth, we must accept our duties as citizens of the human race, and see this world in perspective and so use temporal things in a manner in keeping with our eternal goals.   


At Jesus’ baptism, the Father addressed Him as His beloved Son, in Whom He was well pleased.  Today’s Gospel (Luke 9:28-36,) follows Peter’s confession of Jesus’ identity, showing, that in the Transfiguration, Jesus is a prophet (like Moses and Elijah,) Whose teaching must be heeded.  The three privileged disciples saw a glimpse of Christ’s glory, not yet a vision of the resurrection to come.  It helped them see the glory of the risen Lord was hidden presently in Jesus of Nazareth.  In this wonder, our Blessed Lord receives a revelation that His fate is to suffer and die, and His countenance is altered and His raiment shines with heavenly whiteness—the immediacy of God’s presence.   


Most of us have heard the classic story of the dedicated family man who exclaimed to his wife: “Honey, please do not ask me anymore whether I love you.  I told you so when we got married ten years ago.  I provide for the family and pay all the bills, including the notes on the new refrigerator and the diamond I gave you last Christmas….”  These things may be outward signs of his love, but that is not enough!  His wife wants to hear that he loves her over and over again—and he needs to say it.  Partially, as a result, it’s not uncommon for people to drift apart and jeopardize their marriage, due to such behavior.  

Your relationship with God is also a sacred partnership, or covenant, clearly possessing marital overtones.  Of course, no comparison is adequate.  God does not “feel unhappy” when you do not encounter Him directly in prayer or fail to say that you love Him and appreciate what He is doing for you.  But you need to express love for Him and show appreciation what He does for you.  If you do not, you will likely drift away from Him, regardless of your charity to others.  

The Human Face

Each of us has many faces.  At different times we wear the face of happiness, sadness, courage, fear, peace, unrest, hope, despair, weariness, relaxation, joy, pain, friendship or hostility.  There is nothing of which to be ashamed in all this…it is part of being a human being.  The only thing of which we should be ashamed is a “false” face.  These other faces are all real—they tell the truth, whereas a false face tells a lie.  

It’s amazing to consider the different expressions that can only be seen on the human face.  That’s why faces are such an interesting study.  The face always reveals who we are and what life has done to us.  This explains why we use the word “face” so much in talking to others.  Consider:

We say: “You should have seen her face when I said this.”  Or, we might talk about “losing face,” and “saving face,” in reference to a person’s words or actions.  We might refer to a person as “two-faced,” referring to their alleged duplicity.  And if we say someone is “faceless,” also implies they are deceitful.  

Some people are reluctant to let their real face—their real self—be seen.  Instead, they often insist on putting on a mask.  Perhaps they are afraid to be seen in their weakness.  That’s why it’s so important that we always wear a smile, even when we may be crying inside.  

The transfigured face of Jesus on the mountain was very special, as it shone like the sun, but it was not His only face.  It’s a mistake to think that was the real face of Jesus. What the apostles saw was real, and it did reveal something of His inner glory that at other times was hidden from them.  But to say it was the real face of Jesus implies all the other faces He wore were not real—meaning they were false.  

Jesus had all the faces we have, except for “false ones.”  At various times, His face showed signs of weariness, disappointment, anger, gentleness, compassion, sadness, fear, anguish and pain; and later, it was pale and frozen in death.   All these faces were real.  Behind all of them lay the person of Jesus, human like us, except for sin, but also carrying within Him the splendor of divinity.  

Even though a person’s face is called “the window of the soul,” every face conceals more than it reveals.  Most times, the essentials about another person remain invisible.  Each person is a mystery, except to God.  Our own divine greatness as well as that of other is hidden from us.  

Like Abraham, we have to live by the faith that assures us that behind the most ordinary human face lays a son or a daughter of God; a brother or a sister of Jesus—bound for eternal glory. 

Glimpses of Glory

People have the splendor of divinity inside them, because we are made in the “image of God.”  This often-misunderstood analogy is one with many interpretations.  Taken most simply, the “image of God,” means we can “act in a Godly manner,” toward others, when we express our benevolence, or goodness.  If we strive to be fair and courteous to everyone, and routinely defer to their needs, this way of showing obeisance is how we might emulate Jesus’ way of being.


No one believes we actually “look like” God, of course.  God has no “mortal visage” for us to imitate.  But our understanding of God means He is the embodiment of total perfection in all things.  This image of God, is something to which we can aspire, and toward which we are called to strive as His creations.


Many of us know people who we have considered “living saints.”  I was fortunate to have had a mother who embodied such a bearing, and she had a formative influence on me, my brothers, and everyone with whom she interacted during her short life.  (As my lovely wife, Danielle, will attest, there was another person, Ms. Mary Ann DeSalvo, of Wheatridge, CO, who was also the personification of “saintly” characteristics.)   Such people give us hope through which we can be elevated.  In any event, it is our calling as disciples, to be ever conscious of our beliefs, and to put them into action.  


Whether or not we ever have the vision of the transfiguration, about which we heard in today’s Gospel, it’s clear that something of the wonder of that day remained with Peter, and illuminated his life.  Many years later, he wrote: “We were eye-witnesses of His glory on the mountain…A Voice came to Him, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.’(2 Peter 1:17-18.)  


But we can experience rare moments of light and joy.  In them, we get glimpses of the promised land toward which we are traveling in faith. In His love for us, God allows us to taste the joys of the world to come.  These moments of transfiguration are given to us to strengthen us for our everyday tasks, and to enable us to face the crosses which, in some shape or form, come to everyone.  Such moments of glory do not exist for their own sake.  They exist to clothe the common things with a radiance they never had before.  


Prayer and religion are not escapism.  They are meant to help us face life with all its difficulties and challenges, to embrace the high and low moments of life, the hilltop and the pit.

  May God Richly Bless You!

"God places us in the world as His fellow workers/agents of transfiguration.  We work with God so that injustice is transfigured into justice--so there will be more compassion and caring;  that there be more laughter and joy; that there will be more togetherness in God's World."

~~Desmond Tutu~~

God is Working His Purpose Out.docx

To view a video of today's Holy Mass, click here:  



Edited by Father Michael
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