Gospel:Luke 9:28-36

" The power of prayer"

In our everyday lives, when we want to know something, first and foremost we should have insight on the thing we are curious to know.  Today's gospel gives a remarkable insight into the nature of prayer. Jesus took with him Peter and John and James and went up the mountain to pray. We too have to find the high ground , remote enough to give us an overall view of our petty world with all its preoccupations. A mountain can give us that perspective, as indeed can a lake or a desert, places where Jesus also liked to pray.

Mountains, for us ordinary people suggest peace, rest, vacation and break. If you happened to go to Kilimanjaro Mountain in Tanzania you will be amazed by the conducive environment around the mountain. If you are there you can relax because of its cool weather and makes you to recharge and then after you go again you go to work being rejuvenated, refreshed and ready to face life's challenges.

Why mountains are being referred in scriptures today more especially from the gospel reading? This is because in Scriptures, mountains are known to be places of prayers. In the life of Jesus Christ, after His day's hectic schedule, He went to the mountain in order to pray and to be in union with His Father. Mountains are also powerful symbols of encounter with God. Hence to speak of mountains is to expect an encounter with the divine. Like an ordinary mountaintop experience, an encounter with the Lord strengthens, renews and prepares the faithful for the mission God entrusted as we live one's daily Christian life. It' like attending renewal seminars and others.

In today's gospel, it's about the transfiguration of Jesus in the mountain. The word ' transfiguration' means a change in form or appearance. It is the same  as the Greek word metamorphosis which the students and teachers of Biological Science are very much familiar. Transfiguration event depicts a glimpse of Christ's glory and preview of his resurrection.

Meanwhile we can put this question before us that  ' why does our Mother Church  put this particular gospel every Second of the year during Lenten season? the following are reasons supporting this Scripture passage during Lenten season.

First, to confirm us in our faith that Jesus is truly God and truly Son of God.
Second, to make us reflect and to remember that if Christ was transfigured though God, We His followers should also strive to be transfigured, to be changed and to be metamorphosed in the newness of our minds and hearts.

Third, as what has been said about transfiguration, the church reminds us that this grolious event has to be achieved through suffering and pain. This truth applies to all of us. Hence, the saying, ' no guts, no glory, ' no pain, no gain,' no cross, no crown.'
But before His transfiguration, in the first part of the gospel, St. Luke writes: " While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white,"( v.29). In other words, He prayed. By means of prayer, Jesus is glorified and His appearance changes. What is the connection between prayer and transfiguration?

They went up to the mountain in order to pray. Prayer is the time to connect the gap between Him and us and to align our thinking with God. Why? It is because there are times that we try to adjust God's thinking to ours as when Peter tried to change Jesus' mind about suffering and death but he was told: "Satan, get behind me." We should not get ahead of God to show Him the way. Instead we have to follow Him. We can go to God and talk to Him not only about our own problems, the broken pieces of our lives, the sad thing and the things we are missing, but also the beautiful things we have received but took them for granted, all the talents and abilities and the resources which are still unused. Prayer is not in the first place, asking for good things. It is the transfiguration on our part. We can reevaluate our commitment  and find new vision in our lives.

Prayer transforms and changes us. Jesus' face changed when He prayed and His clothing became dazzling white. God's love and mercy shine forth in our hearts and in our relationship. When we pray we get rid of revenge. When we pray we become Holy through prayers. Moreover, prayer helps us to become more loving and wise. Through prayer we come closer to God.

Prayer gives strength. Prayer gives us strength to go on with our life. We may feel that we are not alone because God is with us.

Prayer makes us move on. Meeting God in prayer is important. It is like stopping at filling station for the next trip. We can ask for directions and even stretch out our legs. Prayer also gives us orientation and energy to go on. It is not a withdrawal from life but a needed stop to continue with a renewed confidence and strength in God.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us listen to Jesus, the transfigured one in prayer and follow faithfully, religiously as transfigured people of God. Let us spend more time in prayer. Praying is not trying to get God on our side but making sure we are on God's side and bring us closer to Him who lives within our heart.

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Chapisha Maoni