The Transfiguration gives Peter, James and John a moment of hope. Having accompanied Jesus for some time, with all the interest and opposition that came with Jesus’ mission, they get a glimpse of who he really is. The three disciples seem to move through emotions of disbelief, fear, awe and reassurance. The moment passes as quickly as it comes, however, and they return down the mountain to their regular life and routine.

We also have ‘mountain’ moments – times when the routines, challenges and hurts of life seem to melt away. Yet they are just that – moments – and we must return to the plain and live what we sometimes call the ‘daily grind’. Life can also bring ‘valley’ moments. The psalmist writing of “the valley of the shadow of darkness” evokes the real experience of the time where the valley was a literal place of danger, but also offers us today a metaphor for the struggles of our existence.

For so many people today, ‘valley’ moments in life are an overwhelming norm. Grieving the loss of loved ones, the hurt of discrimination and exclusion, the physical, emotional and mental pain of domestic and family violence, the isolation of loneliness, and the darkness of mental illness are just some examples. Yet God speaks the words of the Transfiguration to us as well – we are God’s children, we are loved and are pleasing to God.

As people of faith, Jesus calls on us to be the beacon of hope that shines through the darkness of people’s lives through our words and actions. Lent is a time to recommit ourselves to showing all people – whether we encounter them on the mountain, the plain or the valley – that they are loved, that they have worth and that they matter.

When darkness fills our days, how does the light of Christ give us hope?

Published in our parish bulletin, Carmel, 5 March 2023

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