II SUNDAY OF LENT
genesis 15:5-12, 17-18; philippians 3:17—4:1; luke 9:28b-36
ben hooper was a boy who grew up in the mountains of tennessee. his mother bore him out of wedlock. people mistreated him: adults stared at him and made guesses about who his father was; children said ugly things to him… ben kept away from them as much as he could.
in his early teens, ben was drawn to a local church. he would slip in just in time for the sermon, and would hurry out afraid to meet people. one sunday, ben was unable to make a quick exit. he felt a heavy hand on his shoulder; it was the preacher staring right at him. ben assumed that the preacher was about to make a guess about his father. the preacher said: «boy, i know who you are. i see a striking resemblance. you’re a child of… GOD. now, go claim your inheritance.» ben left church that day a different person.
later, ben hooper was twice-elected governor of tennessee (cf. fred craddock, «craddock stories»).
ben’s discovery of his identity—as a child of GOD—transformed him and helped him become the person he became!
that’s something similar to what happened to JESUS on mount tabor.
in the experience of prayer, the FATHER reveals who JESUS is: «this is my son, the chosen one.» that recognition transformed him and prepared him for the «exodus that he was going to accomplish in jerusalem».
the exodus of the hebrews was a struggled-filled journey; a coming to life through suffering and death. the transfiguration reveals to JESUS that his path to life and glory is via the road to jerusalem. the recognition in love will enable him to face the future, to walk the road to suffering and death.
the discovery of our identity—as children of GOD—will transfigure us, and help us deal with our struggles and strengthen us to face our «jerusalems»!