Living in the Glory and Splendor of Jesus Christ
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku
Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the
Congregation Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers, Province of Nigeria South East.
He is currently the parochial vicar of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church
Woliwo Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. For more details contact him
1st :Gen 15,5-12. 17-18; 2nd: Phil 3,17-4,1; Gosp: Luke 9,28-36
A woman one day suddenly went into a coma that lasted several hours. Her children made every effort they could to revive her. When she woke up, she was very sad, angry and lamented: “You should not have bothered yourselves bringing me back here because, what I saw and where I was during those hours is better than where you people have brought me back to now?” Her children explained that they did not want her to die yet because they still needed her. She then went ahead to explain to her children the glory, beauty and splendor of her new environment during her coma. She had barely finished when her little daughter screamed “Mummy, Mummy, you were already in heaven, let me get my cloths so that we can go back there right now!” Occasionally, we hear people narrating such stories of having a glimpse of the glory of God and heaven, but hardly do we believe them. Yet, as Christians we believe that heaven is real. The first reading from Gen 15, 5-12ff and the gospel reading (Luke 9, 28-36) of today have a lot in common because, both of them involved the revelation of the glory and splendor of God. First as a result of his faith, God revealed to Abraham the glory and greatness that was to be his in the near future. Not only did he reveal this to him, He sealed it with a covenant as an assurance that what he promised he will do, he will surely do. In the gospel, Jesus decided to reveal his glory to some of his disciples or “the members of the inner circle.” They saw the glory and splendor of God revealed in Jesus the epitome of the new era, in Moses the law giver and, in Elijah the prophet, thus uniting the former and latter glory.
The transfiguration of Jesus before these disciples is of great significance, and has lots of lessons for us. Christ could have gone alone, but he decided to take them with him to the mountain. He did this in order to assure them and all of us his followers, that we are not wasting our time following him; in order to increase and strengthen our faith in Him who is the son of God; in order to substantiate the fact that he is who he really claimed he is; and in order to resolve the argument over whether he was Elijah, Moses or John the Baptist. Furthermore, he did this to assure us that a reward of living in the glory and splendor of God awaits all of us if we faithfully run the race and advance the kingdom of God as our fathers in faith did. Yet, another important lesson we must learn from today’s gospel, revolves round the verse which says: “…Peter and his companions were heavy with sleep but they remained awake and saw his glory” (Luke 9, 32). Of course, these men having climbed all day long came to the top of the mountain fagged out, but because they felt the seriousness of the business that brought them there, they struggled to keep awake by all means. Physically, they were asleep, but spiritually, they were awake until they have accomplished the task that brought them there. We also need to keep awake. We must be ready to make enough sacrifices, if we are to behold and live in the glory of God revealed in Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Lenten period therefore affords us the opportunity to do this, because, it prepares us through prayers, good deeds, reflections, self denials, etcetera, for seeing and living in the glory and splendor of God. It is a period when we advance gradually, faithfully and hopefully to the mountain where we are to see and live in this glory. It is also a season when God beckons on us to listen attentively through the scriptures to what Jesus wishes to communicate to us through his Paschal Mystery. Hence, we are to widen the horizon of our intellects in order to fully grasp the mystery of the cross this wonderful season, so that we can equally partake in the glory of the resurrection. To achieve this, Paul tells us today that we must “remain faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil 4, 1), who is “our light and our help” (Ps 26, 1).
Peace be with you!