2nd Sunday of Lent

Photographers speak of it as “God light”; those shafts of sunlight breaking through cloud cover and reaching to earth.  I have loved those transfigured moments that would take me by surprise:  while hiking the ridge above the Monastery and looking out over the Willamette valley, or when cycling past farm fields beyond the Abbey with the coastal range in the distance.  The light would speak to me of God.

The Impressionist Claude Monet—a favorite of mine— portrayed the effects of light in his paintings.  For example, he would paint a series of haystacks, or the façade of Rouen’s cathedral at different times of the day to demonstrate how light seemingly changes the reality of things.

Then, there is parishioner Mary Connolly who died just last week; just hours after I had anointed her.  For years, she was unable to see; her eyesight taken from her.  Yet, her face would glow whenever her grandson Michael was cantor at Mass; with a radiance that seemed to come from within.

Such images come to mind as I reflect on the gospel this 2nd Sunday in Lent and as Jesus is transfigured before the eyes of his three disciples.  The gospel recounts how his face “shown like the sun”; “his clothes…white as light”.  The light experienced there on the mountain and at that turning point was “God light” indeed.  The light changed the disciples’ perception of Jesus, there in that timeless moment with Moses and the prophet Elijah.  Jesus became luminous; radiant as his true nature began to shine and the Voice from heaven spoke.  

Such light comes from within.  This is what is being revealed for us to see.  By baptism—and from the moment of our conception, too—this light, born of God, begins to shine within us.  Yet, this light easily becomes obscured as we grow up and begin to move within this fallen world filled as it is with lights contrary to the gospel.  We are plagued by so many blind spots and misperceptions that we fail to see—or are unwilling to see—the light, potential and goodness in the other.  Sometimes we hate the light and prefer darkness because such God-given light demands that we change; and change is painful.  It is much easier to rest in our delusions; or to live in what has been called the “half-light”; like Peter did as he warmed himself by the fire and denied Jesus. 

 As we learn to get out of the way and see what’s really going on inside—what is blocking the light--then we will find the courage to change; to see as God sees.  Then, we’ll learn to let our light shine within this darkened world.  It can be so simple: just a kind word or a smile can let that light within escape our clouded nature to brighten a given day.  I’m reminded of words by Mother Teresa:  “We will never know how much good just a simple smile can do.”  We need to “keep it simple” within this complex world with its insidious ways of undermining the light.

Let us believe in the light and let it shine this Lenten season; the light inside you, in me and all that is.   Light that has the power to change us, speak of God and that now shines upon the face of Christ for good. 

Father Tim Clark, Pastor

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