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See Only Jesus

March 8, 2020

A reflection for the 2nd Sunday of Lent, Year A. The readings are Genesis 12:1-4a; Psalm: 33; 2 Timothy 1:8b-10 and Matthew 17:1-9.

The Transfiguration: “When they looked up, they saw only Jesus.” (

Last week we had the call of the desert and this week we have the call of the mountain. And that’s usually how it goes: After being in the desert, we are often called up the mountain. What happens up there? We have a mountain-top experience: an encounter with God.

We’ve all had encounters with God. Sometimes it’s a very powerful event and we recognize it right away. Sometimes it’s not that obvious but we still recognize it, maybe a few days later –or even sometime later, in retrospect. Sometimes it’s not one event, but a period in our life that when we look back we can say, “Wow, God was really present in my life during that time.” And sometimes we have an encounter with God and we don’t recognize it at all.

So if you’re not sure if you’ve had one, or if you’d like to have one, remember this, very often an encounter with God happens after your time in the desert. So, go into the desert; get rid of all the distractions, the things that get in the way, and let God know you want to see Him and only Him.

And then, wait for the call.

That’s what happens when we have an encounter with God; it leads to a call. That’s what happened with Abram. Abram is the guy whose name God changed to Abraham; it’s the same guy. He had an encounter with God: God spoke to him. And it led to a call: pack your things and go off to this land where I will take you. And Abram goes.

It was the same with St. Paul. He had a very powerful encounter with Christ. And that led to a very specific call: Go off to Damascus and I will tell you what to do. And Paul goes.

It’s a bit different with Peter, James and John because they’d been having personal encounters with Jesus ever since they met him and they’d been called to follow him and also called to many other things, but today, on top of Mt. Tabor, they experience a very different and unique encounter with the divine. And they hear a call: “This is my beloved son, listen to him.” (Mt. 17:5) Listen to him. Weren’t they listening? Well, Jesus had just told them that the Son of Man had to suffer and die – that’s when Peter takes him aside and Jesus says, “Get behind me satan!” (Mt. 16:23) So, yeah, maybe they weren’t really listening very well.

They weren’t trusting.

So we have an encounter and we can recognize the encounter because it always leads to a call But still, sometimes we don’t recognize it. So here’s something else to remember: Very often the call comes with a promise: “Abraham, I will make you a great nation.” (Gen 12:2) That’s a promise; Paul didn’t get the promise right away. He gets it a few days later when he gets to Damascus and meets Ananias who says to him: “Jesus sent me that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”  (Acts 9:17) That’s a promise.

And Peter, James and John – they don’t hear a promise, they see the promise in the transfiguration of Christ.

Encounter; call; promise – that’s how we recognize it.

But here’s the hard part: The encounter, call and promise, always require trust. That’s why our Psalm today is about trust: “Let your mercy be on us as we place all our trust in you.” All our trust! Not a little bit of trust; not some of our trust; not our trust sometimes: All our trust.

Abraham had to really trust because that promise made no sense. Paul also had to really trust. He was blind and didn’t know what was going on; literally, it was blind trust! And Peter, James and John… they had a glimpse of the resurrection, but then they still have to come down from the mountain and still face the crucifixion. That’s trust!

And you? Maybe you have had an encounter with Christ. Maybe you have been called. Maybe you have been given a promise, but maybe you are not quite ready to trust.

Lent is a time when we can renew our trust in Jesus Christ. See how it happens with Peter, James and John: They have an encounter; they hear the call; they see the promise and they are afraid (that also often happens). But when they finally lift up their heads, they see “no one else but Jesus alone.”

That’s trust: seeing only Jesus.

We Catholics are lucky. We get to have an encounter with Christ every time we come to Mass. At every Mass we encounter Christ, made present in the people gathered, in His Word proclaimed, in the office of the priest and in the Eucharist – not a transfiguration, but a transubstantiation. And at every Mass we are called; and at every Mass we hear a promise or two… or more.

And at every Mass we are invited to trust.

Maybe next time you go to Mass can be the Mass when you resolve to trust.


You may be worried about big current things like the Corona Virus. You may be concerned about big general things like the status of women in the world or in the Church; you may be worried about little, specific things like losing an hour of sleep for daylight savings, but in all things, big or small, Jesus calls us to trust. Sometimes like Abraham, we have to wait a long time for the promise to be fulfilled . Sometimes, like Peter, James and John it all makes sense afterwards, after the resurrection; after Pentecost. Sometimes the promise is fulfilled right away but, no matter how it goes, it’s usually not what we expected.

Next time at Mass, as you approach to have a very, deep, personal, meaningful, powerful and physical encounter with Christ in the Eucharist, pray for trust. Ask Jesus for the gift of trust. Give him all your trust. Don’t wait for the call or for the promise, just give Jesus your complete trust.

And when you raise your head, make sure that you see no one else but Jesus alone.

“Jesus, I trust in you.

Jesus, I trust in you.

Jesus, I trust in you.”

From → English, Reflections

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