Some missionaries were sitting around talking about the best way to spread the gospel. Various methods were suggested which ranged from pamphlets to videos to radio announcements. Finally a young woman from Africa spoke. She said, “When we think a pagan village is ready for the Lord Jesus, the first people we send in is a Christian family. It is their lives that will inspire the villagers to think seriously about becoming Christian. They are better than a hundred books or videos or radio announcements. They will be the keyhole through which others will see the Lord Christ. To spread the Church Christians must not so much promote as attract.”
The lady was expressing what Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the German-French theologian, philosopher, physician, and superb keyhole to the divine in his own life, testified, “Example is not the main thing. It is the only thing.”
This then is what we are aiming for in Lent. Like Christ in today’s Gospel, we too must become transfigured. We must become shining examples of our heavenly Father’s love. St. Peter was so overcome by the outward “show” of the Lord’s transfiguration that he wanted to build three little houses so that they could stay forever with Jesus, Moses, and Elijah on the mountain. But the Teacher soon brought his friends back down the mountain, as if to say to Peter and all of us, “Do not dwell on my Transfiguration overly long today. Rather, concentrate on becoming transfigured yourself.” Christ needs for each one of us here to become a keyhole through which others will see the shining face of God.
How can we do this? Well, a priest once asked Mother Teresa how he might better spread the Gospel. She replied simply, “Smile more often. Live as though you believe there are 542 references to joy in the Scriptures.”
The Lord Jesus had only a few hours alone with Peter, James, and John. The transfiguration probably occurred in a microsecond. But we are in luck. There is no such time pressure on us. Next weekend, seven men from our parish together with their team leaders will have two days together on the KYCSS retreat for their own mountaintop experience. As a parish family we have almost six weeks of Lent to open ourselves to the transforming love of God. Can we do it? Can we become keyholes through which people can catch a glimpse of Jesus?