Second Sunday of Lent (A)
March 16, 2014


Teasers and previews are a common thing in our internet-saturated lives nowadays. Go and see a movie and before you could see the main feature, they show you first a slew of “better things to come” … a series of “coming soons” and a preview of the movies coming “next summer to a movie theater near you.”

Well, the Lord did something similar yet eminently and literally more lofty and heavenly.

But first, a preview … This, the book of Genesis (first reading) does. The Lord tells Abram: “I will make you a great nation … I will make your name great … I will bless those who bless you.” … A vision of things to come! …

Abraham was given a preview. But Timothy is given a retro view – a view of what has happened, what has been done, and what God has wrought in fulfillment of what was promised to Abram: “He saved us and called us to a holy life.” … A vision of things past!

The former was a prequel; the latter, a sequel.

But the story further unfolds with another vision, another teaser, another preview, another show of yet better things to come.

But first, we need to look at the context. Jesus “took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.”

Ooops! We need to get our facts straight … No pain; no gain. No guts; no glory. No effort; no comfort. Getting a view to die for does not happen without a view to work for. One does not breathe deep sighs of joy and relief, without first getting into the grind of hard work. The Lord took the disciples up a high mountain.

I remember my first time atop Pulag, the Philippines’ second highest peak many years ago. It was literally and figuratively heavenly at the peak. We were above the clouds that spread like humongous rolls of soft, fluffy cotton below us. It was an exhilarating moment of spiritual upliftment. But let us not talk about how difficult it was to get there. It was back-breaking, knee-punishingly difficult. But comfort needs always to be preceded by effort.

Life, they say, is a journey. And what a journey it has been for me! … Been there; done that! … Been through tough times and good times; crying time and laughing time … a time for everything under the heavens, in Qoheleth’s words.

In this second Sunday of Lent, the Lord gives a preview, a teaser, and at the same time a vision of what He has prepared for us … not without hard work and effort, I might add. The Lord was transfigured, and showed us a preview of what we are also called to be.

We need to be reminded of one basic tenet of our faith. God calls us to greatness and holiness beyond imagination. God calls us to fullness of life and to union with Him. God has created us to one day share in the glory that He has planned for us His creatures.

But we do need to do a little climbing. We need to give it our best efforts. We need to journey up along with Him. No such thing as a free pass; no such thing as a free lunch. We need to invest, too. We need to pitch in capital to win the prize of everlasting glory. But the rewards are exceedingly clear and totally beyond imagination.

Today, that is what precisely He gives us … a teaser, preview and a vision.

After my climb to Pulag, we got down the plane of reality. And I did this many times over in the past decades. One gets a glimpse of what is to come; but one eventually comes down and goes back to what is real … for now … for here… but not forever, yonder … beyond the ordinary reach of mortal man and his limited capacity to fully understand.

I enjoy teasers in movie houses. They whet my appetite for more. They show and hide at the same time. They show better things to come, but they don’t spill the beans altogether. They offer a preview, but do not give us the full view and complete picture. They make us want for more, ask for more, and look for more.

Previews, teasers, and partial visions lead me to look higher, and climb higher, and work harder. For at the end of the proverbial rainbow is that same proverbial pot of gold.

The only difference is this. In our faith, in our Christian expectations, we are not going to get a mere mythical pot of gold, but the glory of God that He has chosen from all time to share with us His children. And He was transfigured to show us proof of what is coming up ahead, for those who are willing to go up with him to the mountain.

Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you!