Dear Students, Parents, Alumni, and Friends,
In the weeks before Ash Wednesday, a group of Edmundites, faculty, staff and students considered the readings of the Sundays of Lent and extracted the statement which appears on banners hanging outside on our campus Chapel above the main lobby entrance and facing route 15. This Lent our focus statement is "Believe in the gift of God, withhold nothing, and live the truth." We have also planned a number of devotional activities outlined on our web page and we have again made available a daily blog containing reflections on the scripture readings from the liturgies in Lent and Holy Week accessible at http://smclent.blogspot.com/.
Every year on the Second Sunday of Lent we hear proclaimed at Mass the Gospel story of Jesus being transfigured on a high mountain in the presence of his three closest disciples, Peter, James and John. It is a dramatic story and appears in all three of what are called the Synoptic Gospels: Matthew, Mark and Luke. Each Gospel author places this marvelous narrative in different places in the Jesus story but the purpose and impact is the same. It serves as a foreshadowing of the resurrection and glory to come to Jesus as he journeys from town to town preaching a new vision of the Kingdom of God and eventually meets his enemies in Jerusalem.
The Transfiguration is such an important event in the life of Jesus that the Church designates August 6th as a feast day commemorating this transformative experience. Jesus is transfigured physically before the three disciples and encounters God the Father in an intimate and profound way. As in his baptism, Jesus is once again referred to by the Father as “my beloved son.” Often times Jesus is seen going off to a quiet place to pray and be with the Father, particularly after long days of ministry to people seeking him out. With each encounter with the Father, Jesus himself is transformed and made stronger so that he can continue his ministry. His faith and resolve is strengthened with each encounter with God in prayer. So too for us.
The season of Lent is a particular time for us to emulate the example of Jesus in the practice of prayer. We join with Jesus in this 40 day period praying that we too experience a transformation as Jesus did atop the mountain. We strive and hope for our own transformation through admitting our sins and celebrating the many gifts God has given us by helping others. Lent is an opportunity to step up our contemplative prayer so that we can hear the voice of God say to us “you are my beloved child” as Jesus heard himself. For indeed each one of us is God’s beloved.
Our ultimate hope beyond Lent is to enter the mystery of the transfiguration in a personal way as we make our own pilgrimage journey back to God. The resurrection of Jesus at Easter is the ultimate mystery and foundation of our faith. One day we too will share in Christ’s resurrection and experience a transformation to new life forever at the banquet of heaven. Having just celebrated the funeral of my sister Patricia, this belief of our faith is a great consolation.
I hope you will join us in prayer this Lenten season as we prepare for the glorious celebration of Easter.
Rev. Brian J. Cummings, S.S.E. ’86
Director of Edmundite Campus Ministry