I failed in one of my Lenten commitments on the Thursday after Ash Wednesday. Yes, literally, on the 2nd day of Lent, I didn’t do one of the things I had committed to do. Part of me was, “Wow, that’s terrible.” This first born doesn’t like falling short.
As I was reflecting more on my failure, I started to feel a sense of relief. No longer was I bound by my desire to “pull off” a good Lent. No longer was it about my “perfect attendance” for my Lenten promises. I was free from having to do a good job, and could just see my Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving for what they were, a means to a end.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I mistake my means for my end. I think this is especially true when it comes to my spiritual practices. It’s as if I celebrate what is getting me to the thing I should celebrate.
In our gospel this Sunday, Peter makes the same mistake. Jesus is transfigured before him. Scripture says Jesus’ clothes turned dazzling white and his face shone like the sun. Peter got a taste of what Jesus resurrected looked like. Experiencing this moment, Peter asks if they can just stay on the mountain.
But Jesus eventually leads them back down to head into Jerusalem and ministry. The transfiguration wasn’t the end, it was the way in which God showed Jesus’ true identity and directly told the key leaders of Jesus’ followers that they should listen to Jesus.
The end was nothing less than Jesus’ death and resurrection and our salvation.
What if Peter had settled for the mountain top?
God used that moment to serve the bigger purpose. In the first reading, God tells Abram that he is going to make Abram’s family a great nation, but that is just a means in order to bless the whole world.
What is the greater purpose for your day to day actions? What are you working and living for?
Take 1 day or just 1 hour and every time you make a decision or do something, ask yourself, “Why?” Keep asking “Why?” until you think you’ve reached the end.