“Rise, and do not be afraid”.
Lent is a time to recapture our enthusiasm for the pilgrimage of life, and be transfigured so that we can reach the promised land, the ultimate goal. Today’s scripture reading are all about people who succeeded at this yet don’t recognize the work that was put into making it happen; The pilgrimages, the pain, the journey and the road of sorrow. Abraham became the father of many nations, Jesus became bigger than Moses and Elijah and what is common to both of their success, other than faith in God, is their Journey! There would have been no promised land for Abraham had he not listened to God and walked to the promise land. There would have been no resurrection for Jesus had he not walked to Calvary. Both of them had their road, their pilgrimage and the unifying piece of each journey is their focus on and love of God! They were willing to trust God even though they knew there would be pain and suffering along the way! The Road to glory for all of us is exactly that, a road. It’s filled with paved areas, pot holes and street lights. It’s also filled with other people on their journey. The goal is there for us if we perfect the journey While Abraham walked from Ur to the Promised Land, he learned about God and became friends with the Lord. While Jesus grew into a young adult and was tempted by the devil in the desert, he learned about his true Father and who he, himself, really was. Peter, James and John didn't understand the Transfiguration because they themselves had not walked the road of suffering and pain. Later in their lives, after they had accepted their own journey, their own pilgrimage, they would look back on the event on the mountain and understand--for Christ to be truly glorified, he had to walk a lonesome road. Unless we are enthusiastic (Enthusiasm is a word that means "God in us"), we can’t illuminate this journey we are on. Unless we say goodbye to the things that keep us tied down and make God number one--like Abraham did, our enthusiasm wanes. No penance, no goal. No respecting the commandments, no goal. No being faithful to our baptismal commitment and membership in the Catholic Church—no goal. It is the journey that gets us to the goal and the goal is GOD. Not the daily goals of this world but the goal of life is God. Christ has offered us a share of his glory; God has given us the chance to be friends with him just like Abraham was. The only goal that will endure, is the goal of being a friend of God. Finally, the way we can become friends with God is to take up our cross and walk the journey that God calls us to with faith! That Friendship is the only thing that lasts beyond death.
Rise, and do not be afraid.