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A sermon on the Transfiguration

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Fr. Mike Paraniuk

By Fr. Mike Paraniuk
St. Mary Catholic Church
St. Benignus Catholic Church 
St. Mary Queen of Heaven
and Holy Trinity Catholic Church

I have been wearing glasses since I was 12 years old. The first time I wore them in public was traumatic. Kids in school made fun of me. On top of the chubby and big ears snarky slurs, now they added one more – "four eyes."

But I didn't care because I could actually see. I remember looking in awe seeing the beauty of a flower. I said to my mom excitedly, "I saw a rose today. They are so pretty." 

My mom asked, "Haven't you seen a rose before?" 

I answered, "No, not really."

There are two ways to look at everything in life. From the "outside in" or the "inside out." When I looked at that rose from the "outside in," I could only see a blurred picture of that rose due to my limited eyesight. From my outside vision I couldn't grasp the bright red color or the beauty of the petals within the flower. But through my corrective glasses, I could see the true glory of that rose revealed from the inside out to my eyes.

What is a transfiguration? It means a change in appearance from the inside to something more beautiful or glorious on the outside. Picture a caterpillar changing into a beautiful butterfly.

God is giving you a message today through the Transfiguration of Jesus. God is saying, "Don't look at your life from the outside only. Look also to what lies within."  

From the outside, Jesus looked common like any other Jewish man of his day. But from within, Jesus there was another reality of God shining forth Divine Light from that lowly human body. 

If you look at the things happening in your life only from the outside world, you won't get a clear picture. Your understanding will be incomplete or even blurred. This lack of clear vision could cause you to doubt God's love and care. 

God wants you to look within and see His Divine Presence in everything, especially your most difficult moments. From within God reveals His Divine Purpose out to you.

How do I see His Presence within the crosses I carry? How can I see His Plan for me when I feel so powerless? Through the lens of faith.

Faith is the glasses that correct your limited earthly sight to spiritually see God is always there. "Be still and know that I am God." (Ps. 46:10.) This is God's command to stop worrying and trust in His Divinity dwelling even in your crosses. God placed His Divinity inside of you just like it dwelled inside of Jesus. You are a tabernacle holding the Glory of God. Jesus says this clearly in John 14:23 "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him." 

The same Divine Jesus of the Transfiguration lives in you right now. Think about that. That's totally awesome, beyond what my little mind can grasp. 

What should your response be to God living in your soul? God tells you in Mark 9:7, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him.” What does it mean to listen to Jesus? It means you must humbly seek to be like Jesus so His life becomes your life. 

God’s desire is for you to be “conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29). 

Just as I was asking God how to conclude this sermon, so I don't go too long, a text came through my iPhone. (In the Catholic tradition, any sermon over 8 minutes can induce a spontaneous coma). St. Mary parishioner Brandon Fullenkamp texted me this beautiful reflection concerning Lenten fasting:

"The sacrifice is not in the stomach, but in the heart. They refrain from eating meat, but don't talk to their family, don't visit their parents or bother to care for them. They don't share food with the needy. A good barbecue or beef stew won't make you a bad person, just like a fish fillet won't turn you into a saint. Seek to have a deeper relationship with God through better treatment of others. Let's be less arrogant and more humble at heart."

Whoever wrote that can truly see. Happy Lent.

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