When I was in college, we used to sing a song at Mass that I have never been able to find since. One line from this song was: we’ll just say that we’ve been to the mo
untain to catch a glimpse of all that we can be”. In both the first reading and the gospel, Abram and the disciples catch a glimpse of all that they could be…..and so do we.
Today’s first reading is a strange one. In the midst of strange symbols for the 21st century, God makes a covenant with Abram. “It was on that occasion that the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the Great River, the Euphrates.”. In the midst of this experience, “a trance fell upon Abram, and a deep, terrifying darkness enveloped him.” In the depth of that darkness, God showed Abram who he was: the father of the nation. From Abram, would rise the people of Israel and God would make an unbreakable covenant with them…at least, from God’s perspective.
The story of the Transfiguration reveals Jesus in the fullness of His Divine Nature. He is the fulfillment of the promise made to Abram and the promise of all the prophets. In Jesus, God renews the covenant with humanity, with each of us, but not with the blood of animals, but with His own blood to be shed on the Cross. This covenant sealed on the Cross is the covenant you and I live in. At every Eucharist, we enter into the awesome light of that reality. At every Eucharist, we climb the Mountain of Transfiguration to see who Jesus calls us to be and at every Eucharist we climb the Mount of Calvary and enter the mystery of the new and eternal covenant: the words Jesus used the night of the Last Supper and we use at the consecration of the chalice. The covenant is not redone; we enter it’s saving mystery at every Eucharist and we are transformed into God’s People by it.
Today, we learn who we are in both readings: in the profound darkness of Genesis and in the blinding light of the Mount of Transfiguration. Every spiritual writer talks about the profound darkness of God; a metaphor that the reality of God goes beyond any word we can say or any proof. To truly be a disciple of Jesus, we must take a step into the darkness of faith and trust. In that darkness, we experience the awesome and over whelming presence who brings us into a covenant that will never be broken. In the awesome and overpowering light of God, we see ourselves as God sees us: warts and all. We do not need to perfect to be His disciple. Despite our sins, in Christ, God has made an unbreakable covenant with each of us.
So, my brothers and sisters, here is the challenge: Do you see yourself in covenant with God? Can you and I accept that God has made a covenant with you by name? Can we accept the leap of faith into the darkness of faith with trust and can we allow God to show us who we are in the brilliant light of divinity?
May this week of Lent be a week of discovery of who we can be. May we allow God to show us all that we can be in darkness and in light.