On the second Sunday in Lent we always read from one of the accounts of the Transfiguration (in Mark, Luke, or this year Matthew.) Glorious moment for Jesus; his full divinity on display in front of his disciples; reminder of the kind of transformation we will experience ourselves in the afterlife…All that true, but…
I can’t help, in my own struggle, but to see the struggle of the disciples. They do not get Jesus. They will, but not yet. By saying that he wants to build a tent for Jesus, along with one for Moses (representing the Law) and one for Elijah (representing the Prophets,) Peter tries to encapsulate Jesus in the framework, the categories, the “box” he knew. The voice of God interrupts Peter, that’s not it…Listen to him!
As we discuss Lenten growth, this gospel reminds me that growth only happens when we cross the line of our comfort zone; when we stretch the limits of our vital framework; when we do not try to limit our human experience—including the way we live faith—to the way we have been always doing it, the way in which we have been raised.
Any human progress in science, or any great work of art, or music, took for someone to cross the line of what was proper, or expected, or dictated, or traditional, or possible… to do, produce, make, paint, write, discover what seemed impossible.
Jesus witnesses his disciples’ struggle, but he touches them, and asks them to raise up, and tells them not to be afraid. All kinds of fear lurk behind our inability or lack of will to go beyond our own constructed frameworks. If we think and do what we have always thought and done, we will always stay where we are.
Growth is about facing fear and shattering the limits of our own framework, our comfort zone. It is uncovering the cover of the box in which we try to contain the incredible human experience.