Brothers and sisters, friends all from near and far,
Welcome to Anaheim, or welcome back to Anaheim to the Congress. I am very grateful to have the chance to celebrate this Sunday morning Mass for all of you in my first months here as the new Bishop of Orange. There is a great heritage and vibrancy of Faith here and this is an exciting and truly God given moment for the Church in Orange, and for all of us together. To meet the Lord, to meet Him in His Body, the Church with all of this vibrancy, enthusiasm and desire to learn more and to serve him. Encounters like this have been for me and for all of us, a great source of renewal for us in the Lord as we return to our daily life and ministry. It is also a providential moment for us here in Orange with the acquisition of the future Christ Cathedral Campus, with a special debt of thanks to Bishop Brown and his advisors and co-workers. For their vision and trust in God to step forward and see in the campus so many possibilities for the new evangelization, for proposing the Gospel anew!
This second Sunday of Lent is the Sunday of the Transfiguration, a day so important in the life of the Church that it has its own day in the Calendar – August 6th. It is a moment of catechesis for those preparing for Baptism. It is, however, also a day to reflect on our own walk with the Lord in our lives and ministry and those whom we serve in our mission to build up the Body of Christ.
[Pronto regresaremos a nuestra vida diaria, enfocados en nuestro camino con Nuestro Señor, y encontraremos con otras personas que al igual lo buscan. Me pregunto, eso mismo no hacían Pedro, Santiago, y Juan -ocupándose de sus vidas diarias con Nuestro Señor mientras viajaban por Galilea y Judea con él. Y cuando se acercaron a lo que conocemos como Monte Tabor, cuando Nuestro Señor fue transfigurado en la presencia de ellos, sin preparación, ellos presenciaron la gloria de Dios, un “anticipo” de la Resurrección]
Shortly, as I said we all will be returning to our daily lives, focused on our own walk with the Lord, and His walk with others who are seeking Him who come our way. Is this not what Peter, James, and John were doing – attending to their daily life with the Lord in their travels throughout Galilee and Judea, when they came near what we know as Mount Tabor today, when the Lord was transfigured in front of them, when without any preparation, they saw the glory of God, a “preview” of the Resurrection! The Liturgical prayers for this second Sunday of Lent remind us that the Disciples were gifted with this vision to strengthen them for what was ahead: the Lord’s passion and death. Peter Hebbelthwaite said in l978, in his book The Year of the Three Popes reflecting on the fact that Pope Paul VI passed away on the Liturgical Feast of the Transfiguration, that “It was the feast of the Transfiguration, an event which reminds Christians of the Risen Christ who is present amidst the banalities of everyday existence”.
[A partir de a hora, no es nuestra misión llevar esa experiencia de nuestro Señor resucitado – la luz de la gloria de Dios- a todas las personas que encontramos en nuestro camino, quienes muchas veces estas en la oscuridad]
As we go forth from here, is not our mission to take back that experience of the Risen Lord – the light of the glory of God – to the people who cross our paths daily, often in so much darkness!
In reflecting on the Transfiguration, I would like to jump years ahead, to another significant time in the story of the Bishop of Rome. Pope Benedict XVI, years later, comments also on the Transfiguration when he says in Jesus of Nazareth “The hoped-for salvation and the Passion are thus joined together intimately and then developed into a picture of the redemption that accords with Scripture’s deepest intention, although in terms of the prevailing expectations of the day it constitutes a startling novelty. Scripture has to be read anew with the suffering Christ, and so it must ever be. We constantly have to let the Lord draw us into his conversation with Moses and Elijah; we constantly have to learn from him, the Risen Lord, to understand Scripture afresh.”
If we reflect on our own lives today, let us think of our own moments of “transfiguration”, when the Lord – despite the barriers that we can put up – indeed drew near to us. They can be the high moments – the mountain top experiences of Baptisms, First Holy Communions, Confirmations, Marriage, Religious Professions and Ordinations. They can also be the moments of surprise, when in the midst of daily life, ministry, or darkness, suddenly we know without a doubt that God is here, his light and love is revealed to us, and then it is gone.
[Vamos bajamos de la montaña y como los discípulos regresamos a nuestras vidas diarias, con todo tipo de retos. Sin embargo, no podríamos decir que esas “pequeñas” transfiguraciones son regalos de Dios para cada uno de nosotros, los cuales no regala como un farol, para alumbrar el resto de nuestros días, al igual que alumbrar el camino de otros que buscan diariamente a nuestro Señor, el quien desea estar cerca a ellos y a todos nosotros.]
We are down from the mountain, like the disciples going back to daily life with all sorts of challenges. Yet, can we not say that those “mini” transfigurations are gifts of God to each one of us, given as a lantern, as it were, to light the way for the rest of our lives, and to light the path for others in their daily search for the Lord, who wishes to draw near to them, and to us!!
This day, then, as the Lord draws near to us, let us daily let Him draw is into the conversations with Moses and Elijah, so we can share those conversations with all which we meet, and propose and live the Gospel anew in this sometimes indifferent, and in many places, secular age. We truly build up the Church anew when we say, and invite others to say with us “Lord it is good for us to be here.”[Señor es buenos estar aquí contigo]