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Domenica 5 Marzo 2023

Second Sunday of Lent

Word for today
The Gospel of Mark 9:2-10

To Transfigure

Covered with green, it rises 660 meters above the surrounding flat plain. A mountain of Galilee, Mount Tabor is located southeast of Nazareth at the eastern extremity of the  plain of Esdrelon.
Six hundred-sixty meters high to tell and give the world a fragment, a glimpse, a glimmer of God's beauty. A beauty that is staggering to the mind, almost unbearable to the heart, impossible for the eyes to look at, and frightening to the soul. We were made in the likeness of that beauty and we were a part of it before we insisted in touching the tree of life; it is a beauty that we lost along the way in our desperate search for other ways. The divine beauty of our celestial being, of our heart of son of God, which we have transfigured into spite, sadness, fear, darkness and misery.
The transfiguration, the first terrible transfiguration, was carried out by us. From the beautiful beings created in God's image and likeness, from God's beloved children that we were, we chose to transfigure ourselves into little wild divinities. We ran away from God our Father to let ourselves be swallowed up by pride and fear.
We transfigured ourselves into a brood of parasites; we have gotten used to and we have let ourselves get used to ugliness, to lies, to stupidity, to passiveness, to slavery. We have transfigured ourselves into impromptu masters of the world, bleating  herds obsessed with success and glory. Forced into being born and dying in harmful, unhealthy buildings that are closed and noxious, like hostages for whom no one is willing to pay ransom.
We have transfigued the Word of God into constitutions constructed to guarantee every possible possession to the rich and every possible sacrifice to the poor. Unsure and obsessed by things and money, we are incapable of taking care of ourselves, of finding our way in the woods, of recognizing trees and plants, of lighting a fire, of living with the animals. Generations of blind men without any vision, oppressed by the obsession of control and possession, infinitely jealous of our nothingness. We have transformed ourselves into gods, in grotesque divinities who are overbearing with the weak, frightened with the powerful, spiritual dwarfs, grotesque utensils in the hands of the powerful of the earth, our energies exhausted, our souls stubbed out.
We let ourselves be transfigured completely inside and out.
We have transfigured the capacity to love and to be be loved into competition, conflict, and spite. We think we love but we do not know how to love even ourselves, we do not even know what loving and having serene, beautiful, gratifying, enriching relationships is. We have transfigured the life as a couple into a contract with a time limit, a division or sharing of assets,  a separation from unity, beauty and joy. We have transfigured joy into ephemeral pleasure, passion into a frenetic exchange of human warmth, enthusiasm into competitive adaptation. We have transfigured the liberating and powerful faith in God into fettering epistemic ideologies, dark piety, spells and magic, transforming the meaning of life into a destiny managed by the stars and playing cards, divine providence into chance and fear, God's presence in human history into a fairty tale for the foolish. We transfigure our eyes, we change our nose and face,  tattoo  our bodies. We have upset the earth's beauty, destroyed food's potential, devalued work, mistreated the skin, nullified the spirit.
We have transfigured knowledge into culture, the Word into literature, prayer into poetry, knowledge into schooling, play into sport, work into slavery. We have transfigured the words of Jesus into documents and reflections, the sacraments into social occasions, the liturgy into grotesque embarrassing provocations.
We have let the beauty of life be transfigured into a delirium of omnipotence, politics into a criminal, murderous association; we have let justice become transfigured into a mighty arm in the hands of the powerful against the poor and the weak. We have forgotten the beauty of man and of woman, of the trees and of the animals, of water and the sun.
If it is possible to accept the fact that we have disavowed the goodness of justice, thrown away faith and spirituality, if it is possible to accept the fact that we have renounced and cursed our interior being,  how could we renounce and throw away beauty? How could we throw away beauty? Beauty is evident, it is not demonstrable, it is empirical. Blaspheming the beauty of God, of creation, of man is blaspheming evidence, the Holy Spirit
We have disavowed beauty and grace everywhere. In the name of money, we have massacred men, women and children everywhere without blinking an eye. In the name of money there is no animal that can be considered safe if it is judged a source of income. We massacre entire species and then when there are only a few examples left we ask for money and publicizing all of our efforts we go to save them. Money has become our pulsating heart, our reason for living, our passion, our justice, our medicine, our death. Money has transfigured rivers into dikes, forests into deserts, oceans into dunghills, glaciers into sand. In the name of money we have transfigure our children into dummies for the fashion industry, social trophies for sports, animals to be filmed by television zoos, opportunistic slaves for politics, petulant trainees for culture. Nothing of what has been created and how it was created accomdates us. The movement of the light, of the sun, of the seasons, the climate … nothing is not agreeable to us.
irrepresible agriculture, hunting, fishing, planting, harvesting. We have transfigured the races of the animals, the mountainsides, the horizons on the plains, the course of rivers, the star filled skies, the white of the clouds. We have transfigured the face of the earth, the face of the sea, the face of man, our face. We have lost beauty inside and outside and no one, not even money and give it back to us.
Only beauty, Holy Spirit Mother beauty, the Lord of light and of every splendor can give us back the beauty that we have thrown away. It will take tears, many tears, inconsolable tears of madness and pain, loneliness and fear, disease and death.
It will take rivers of tears, rivers of blood but one day men, women and children, young and old people  will climb up the mountain to look in silence at what we have done during our hyponosis of omnipotence.
It will take time and generations, but one day men, guided by a few, Peter, James and John will climb up the mountain. Peter, the community formed and united, James, the passion and determination for truth and justice to the end, John, the lover of God, the sweetness and the depth of the Spirit in the prophetic intuition of love, will take man to the top of the mountain to see the world from above and himself from nearby. At the top of that mountain looking at the beauty that was betrayed, hands will move to cover faces and tears will begin, the tears of humanity. Bitter, unconsolable tears, no longer tears of rage and fear, but free flowing tears, unconstrained, liberating  tears, the tears of millions of eyes, of millions of hearts, tears that will blind us, tears for the time needed to finally become seers of the soul.
It will take tears to implore from God and from the veins of the earth still beautiful and gracious, harmonious and luminous and we will do it from that mountain top. Mount Tabor seemed like a good place to Jesus, the best place to show that there is still beauty, that the splendor of the heart and of the human being is possible in Him and for Him. It is the Mount of the transfiguration, the Mount of tears which turns into a smile, of the confusion that becomes a vision of light, the Mount where light moves and converts more than law or conviction, where beauty sings infinite longing  songs that heal and make whole. Beauty melts hearts, it will be the beauty of God the Father, of God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, the Counselor and Advocate will melt  away all fear,  obstinacy, and pride.
After the terrible and obstinate transfiguration imposed by man to the world and to the children of God, Jesus  proposed his Transfiguration, his beauty for the return of beauty, to the splendor God’s life. Jesus gives us a possibility, he gives us an unbelievable opportunity, exposing himself in his splendor, at least what our eyes could bear to see. He shows us who he is, and who we can be in him and with him.
John immersed the people in the Jordan river in order to immerse them in God; on Tabor through the Transfiguration Jesus carried out the baptism of light, an immersion of peoples and of believers in the splendor of his beauty and of his light: the Baptism of light which is the purifying immersion in God’s light and mercy. At this point we can at least intuit that there is nothing more purifying and healing for man than the Transfiguration. The feast of the Transfiguration should be the feast of the purification, of forgiveness, of going home, the feast of peace par excellence. Jesus with his mercy liberates us from sin, from death, from the worms of evil,  but even more than his mercy it is his beauty and splendor that fills us with longing. It will be the goodness and the meekness of Jesus that will strike the man who will strike him on the day of the passion, but more than anything it will be the grace of those chained movements, the beauty of that bloodied face and eyes, that undeniable harmony of voice and of gestures, of his hands and look.
Of course Jesus gave life, light and energy to his nascent Church with his word and his Spirit, but no one will ever tell us how much passion and enthusiasm, how many chants and praises the eyes and the skin, the gestures and the hands, the look and the voice of the Resurrected, beautiful beyond every imagination, so beautiful and overwhelming that even the eyes of the disciples were unable to recognize him moved the hearts of the apostles. And how much Energy and peace did that beauty, so close and at the same time so powerful and unsustainable, emit. How many chants must that beauty have moved and inspired, how many prayers and intimate moments? Even more than the words, the miracles, the truths, and the mandates, it must have been the beauty of Jesus which moved the apostles to get into that boat, to set off on the ship of the church against everything and everyone, alone and persecuted, in prison and beaten, but always happy and honored. The beauty of the Risen Jesus cannot but equal his goodness and  omnipotence, more overwhelming and liberating than any other love and beauty.