Fr. Manoling Francisco, SJ is definitely one of my favorite Jesuit priests. For an anticipated celebration of the Second Sunday of Lent, he tonight delivered another wonderful beautiful Mass at the Our Lady of Pentecost Parish. I swear that his homily will forever be etched in my heart and mind.
The Gospel Acclamation for the Second Sunday of Lent, is as usual, the narrative of Jesus’ Transfiguration. (Though actually, there is a separate celebration of the Feast of the Transfiguration (August 6 to the Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christianity), sometime during the middle of the year, if I am not mistaken.) Simon Peter, James the Elder, and John the Beloved were the three luckiest Apostles to witness this once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon. However, due to their limitations as finite human beings, they were not fully able to comprehend the reasons behind the glorious event.
In literary terms, the account of the Transfiguration is probably what one can loosely call as a flash-forward of what is to happen to Jesus. Despite His difficult earthly mission, He will outwit Death and renew everyone with His Resurrection.
The miracle of the Transfiguration, however is not limited to Jesus Christ.
Fr. Manoling recalls someone who went to him after his brother was killed by a man. He was surprised to see his mother approach the murderer with a pack of Sky Flakes crackers in her right hand. She then offered it to the murderer and uttered, “What you did really pained me a lot, but I forgive you.”
I was lost in thought then. Here’s a woman, able to forgive a supposed-to-be unforgivable criminal, while here I am, still carrying grudges on people who have wronged me at different magnitudes. And while I was still at that thought, Fr. Manoling told us to look at Jesus, the unselfish man who once laid his life for people He really didn’t knew.
It is not the number of wounds and not the number of thorns. It’s all about His love.
Love yes. Only if the world knew of its true meaning will everyone be at peace. At times that we fail to grasp its meaning, I suggest we look for a Crucifix and stare at the hanging image of Christ. How could such member of tremendous royalty be insane and die for people who are many levels lower than Him?
But I am just a human being. I am not God. Therefore I cannot forgive. Scrap this balderdash. He who thinks of this deserves not to live. He who thinks of this must have led a sad existence.
In this Season of Lent, approach those who have wronged you and tell offer them some biscuits. Tell them that you forgive them. Do it wholeheartedly, of course. Human nature says that accomplishing this task is very hard, however every deed done with God’s grace is impossible. Learning to do this is very hard (I actually can’t find myself doing this soon) indeed, but with sincerity, will, and prayer, this is actually something doable.
Love that suffers redeems us and brings us closer to Christ through Transfiguration. Four more weeks of Lent left. It’s time to make that sacrifice. It’s time to leave our comfort zones. It’s time we suspend our egoistic ideals first. And in doing such, the brightness inside each of us will shine its brightest.