Yes, I admire the wondrous beauty of our valley during this time of the year, but I have to remember that the purpose of spring is to prepare for summer, when all these trees will bear their fruit, providing life-giving food. And so it is with the transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor. It was not enough that his disciples received a glimpse of Jesus in this stunning but passing transfiguration. Rather, they would eventually experience Jesus in his glory as Risen Lord; and they themselves would be part of the fruit of his Pascal Mystery, witnesses of God’s saving love. The disciples had to follow Jesus to Jerusalem, to remain with him and be transformed into the fruit of his love. And so it is with us.
Next week, on Ash Wednesday, many Christians will begin the observation of Lent, a period of spiritual preparation for Easter involving prayer, self denial and charitable practices toward the neighbor. Just before the transfiguration scene on Mount Tabor, Jesus instructed his disciples that if they would follow him, they would have to deny themselves and be saved by losing themselves. The English word for this period of Christian renewal is Lent, or springtime, adopted from the Germanic term “lenz.” But in Latin it is “quadragesima” and in Spanish “cuaresma,” in reference to the 40 days before Easter. Perhaps the extraordinary development going on in our beautiful blossoming trees in springtime provides a clue to the meaning of Lent and our spiritual development. May the Holy Spirit guide us during this time of growth from attractive blossoms to rich fruit for God’s kingdom.
• The Rev. Bernie Quinn is minister of Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Sermon Notes is a column by ministers of the Patterson Ministerial Association.