If we are trying to accomplish some goal, especially something difficult, it is natural for us to seek out a guide, someone who has already achieved what we are trying to accomplish. If we want to excel at a sport, we find someone who has done well in that sport and has proven that he can help others excel. If we want to gain wealth, we look for a person who has become wealthy by shrewd investing. We would not listen to someone who had squandered his money and lost it all by making foolish choices.
Our goal as Christians is not merely to achieve some temporary glory or wealth on this earth, but to become “rich in the sight of God.” We want to share in the eternal glory which God has promised to his faithful people. Whom can we find to show us the way to this glory? Jesus himself. In today’s Gospel Acclamation, the very voice of the Father identifies Jesus as the most trustworthy guide: “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” This is the One with whom I am pleased, the One who is infinitely rich in my sight, because I have given everything to him. If you want to come into my glory for all eternity, listen to him who shares my glory! In the Gospel, we see that Moses and Elijah are standing with Jesus and sharing in his glory. So we have clear evidence that those who have followed God faithfully do share in his glory.
Furthermore, Peter assures us in the second reading that this account of Jesus being transfigured in glory on the mountain is not a myth which the disciples made up. He says that he was an eyewitness of the event, as the Gospel affirms. He advises us to keep our eyes fixed on this revelation of the glory of Jesus – the glory in which we are also invited to share. Life can be very dark in this world, with so much confusion and so many “words” which are contrary to the word of the Lord. We can find our way through this darkness, however, if we stay focused on this shining truth: Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of the Father; he has come to redeem us and lead us into everlasting glory. He has shown this in his words and actions, and the Father has confirmed it. We have the testimony of those who actually saw his glory revealed. Thus it is his word that we must follow, because only his word will lead us to life and glory with him.
In the first reading, Daniel has a vision of “the Ancient One,” God the Father on his heavenly throne, and of the “Son of man” receiving everlasting dominion, glory, and kingship from him. In several places in the Gospels Jesus takes for himself the title “Son of Man,” thus claiming the glory and kingship described in this reading. The Psalm also speaks of Jesus’ kingship: “The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth.”
It is significant that the Psalm states that the earth should rejoice and the many islands be glad to have the Lord reigning over them as king. This is the key for us who wish to find the way to share in the Lord’s glory – we must rejoice to proclaim him as our king. We see in the reading that, when the Son of man receives the kingship, “all peoples, nations, and languages serve him.” We who wish to share in his glory must listen to him and must serve him. This means, as we have seen all week, that we do not proclaim ourselves as king, nor do we seek only to serve and glorify ourselves.
The paradox of love means that those who serve the eternal King actually reign with him in glory! He himself said, “the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt 20:28). He whom we serve first served us! The only reason that he wants us to serve him is because this is the way in which he brings us into a share in his glory.
Lord, give us the grace to reject the false teaching of the world, and to joyfully proclaim you as our King and Lord, that we might one day be brought to share in your own glory.
How am I striving to achieve the goal of becoming rich in the sight of God? When have I experienced the awesomeness of God? What hinders me from staying focused on the truth that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of the Father?
Excerpt from The Anawim Way, Volume 18, no. 6. More information about The Anawim Way may be found here.