I’ll never hear the Gospel account of the Transfiguration Mark 9:2-10 without thinking of two really funny stories shared with us many years ago when Kevin and I went to Mass at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Rochester, New York, the parish where my parents were married.
The Readings that day were those we have today about the Transfiguration. A religious sister in the community gave the homily, and included in it a great anecdote about a couple who came to her to receive ministry and informed her that they used to belong to “The Church of the Disfiguration.” She found that to be very interesting, and all of us thought it was a hilarious misnomer.
It got me thinking, though. That would be kind of a fitting name for a parish since we, the people, who make up the body of Christ on Earth, are indeed all disfigured to some extent, due to our own sinfulness and turning away from God. Fortunately our Church isn’t focused on the darkness of sin and suffering (which I tend to be sometimes), but rather is built upon and springing forth from God’s gifts of forgiveness, mercy, and salvation.
Later on, the priest celebrating Mass that Sunday shared an even funnier memory before we began the Liturgy of the Eucharist. When he was growing up, one Lent his Italian grandfather recounted to the gathered family members in broken English what Jesus said to his disciples when they were descending the mountain, “No tell o’ vision ‘til the Son of God come!” This rather rough summary of Mark 9: “As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead,” led to a new Lenten sacrifice unintentionally imposed on everyone in the priest’s family. And with that, the priest added, “None of us could watch TV for the rest of Lent.” The Gospel reference was lost, but Grandpa made quite an impression by declaring that there would be no television until Easter.
What aspects of your life is God asking you to sacrifice on the altar in order to grow closer to Him?