Coming in glory, a Lenten reflection

March 16, 2014
Second Sunday of Lent
Genesis 12: 1-4
Psalms 33: 4-5, 18-19, 20, 22
Second Timothy 1:8-10
Matthew 17: 1-9

Baseball fans say time begins on Opening Day.
I tended to think that way as a child. Maybe I still do, at least a bit, even in the age of steroids. And while the demigods of my youth, Willie Mays and Sandy Koufax, were vivid in my imagination, I was also drawn to obscure and more human players like Lou Johnson.
Lou Johnson?
The year was 1965. The Los Angeles Dodgers, built on pitching, suffered what looked to be the end of their pennant hopes, when their one great hitter, Tommy Davis, went down with a broken ankle.
At least it seemed that way until Lou Johnson was called up. He was an improbable 31 years old, having bounced around in the minors, the world of minimum wage and long bus trips, for more than a decade.
The end result? The Dodgers went on to win the World Series that year, thanks in large part to Lou Johnson, known by his nickname “Sweet,” who hit the game-winning RBI in the decisive seventh game.
It was for Lou Johnson, a transfiguration, a glimpse of glory.
This week the Church presents us with the Transfiguration story from Matthew. The Hebrew Scripture reminds us that salvation history begins not on Opening Day, but with Abram, and his journey to the Promised Land.
Like Abram on his journey, we’re still only in the beginning stages of Lent. And already the sacrifices may be wearing. That candy bar starts to look delicious. That pledge for patience with the office worker who drives you crazy seems like an impossible cause. A trip through the tough side of town makes you question all this Church talk about giving to the poor. Couldn’t they get up and do something about their condition?
The Church presents us with the Transfiguration as a reminder. If Lent is the tough road of minor league ball, of interminable bus rides and fast food meal budgets, the glory of the World Series lies off the horizon, the distance from April to October.
Jesus tells the apostles who witnessed the Transfiguration miracle on the mountaintop not to tell anyone. The 40-day Lenten road remains a long one, and now is not the time to get distracted.

Peter Feuerherd is director of communications for the Diocese of Camden and associate publisher of the Catholic Star Herald.

Categories: Growing in Faith

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