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Embraced by God

The story is told about a guide who asked the pilgrims why the interior of the church was unpainted and had many holes. One smart pilgrim said it was to show that the church is a work in progress. Another said it was for the acoustic purposes. But the best answer came from a little boy who said: “Why are there many holes in the church? Because it is a holy (hole-y) place!”

In today’s Gospel (Luke 9:28-36), Jesus was transfigured before His disciples Peter, James and John. The incident was not only to show Jesus’ power and glory, but also an invitation for them to be open to change and transformation, in spite of their weaknesses and imperfections.

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We are all called to holiness in spite of the “holes” in our souls. The challenge of the Transfiguration is that we should not give up on ourselves and on one another, because God does not give up on us, and He believes in our goodness, no matter what.

Last week, I was in the Holy Land with about 150 pilgrims from the Philippines, and we went up to Mount Tabor, the mountain of the Transfiguration. The place is beautiful, so quiet, peaceful and so filled with the loving presence of God. Our own transfiguration happens when we humbly expose ourselves to God’s tremendous presence and love, and this we can do anywhere, anytime. Let us find time, and make time to come before God, and humbly allow ourselves to be blessed and embraced by Him in the silence of our hearts.

What company do you keep? Who or what are you exposed to most of the time? The disciples were exposed to Jesus in a sustained way, that’s why they, too, experienced their own transfiguration. Make sure you are getting the right exposure and not being corrupted by harmful people, things and events around you.

A transfiguration moment happened to a woman who just happened to join her sister for a holy Mass. She has been away from the Church for a while, but in the Mass, especially in the silent moments after the Consecration, she experienced the loving presence of God that assured her she was loved, no matter what. More than building tents and doing all sorts of things for the Lord, let us focus on really being with Him and listening to Him.

I gave a Lenten recollection to the BCBP Chapter in Roxas City recently, and I challenged them to live up to their name “BCBP” to mean “Busy (BC) But Prayerful.” That, by the way, is the challenge for all of us to strive to become aware of, and to acknowledge the loving presence of God no matter how busy we are, and find God, even in the marketplace.

I had a Mass last Sunday with  Brig. Gen. Titan Kison (Ret.) and his PMA Class ’79 classmates and their spouses, challenging them to go for quality time and payback time, especially now that they are retired from active service. There was also a renewal of their marriage vows. Most touching was when they sang their alma mater song before the Lord with so much passion and emotion, especially that part which says, “When bells for us are rung, and our last taps is sung, let generations see our country free.” Yes, more than ever, we need in our country men and women who serve our people with courage, loyalty and integrity.

“Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. I need You in my life, my God.” Unless and until you say this sincerely from your heart, you have not really begun your real journey to God’s heart. The key to conversion and transfiguration is humility, and it starts with a humble and contrite heart.

Think about this: “You will be happier when you realize that life is not so much about struggling bravely as surrendering to God willingly, and allowing Him to embrace you, come what may.”

A moment with the Lord:

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Lord, stay with us. Embrace us. Amen.

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