While we were still without hope, God took us out of our emptiness and brought us into a new land, making with us a covenant of liberation.
But we remain “set upon the things of this world,” burdened with “the original darkness that shadows our vision.” Today’s liturgy is about restoring our sight so that we can “see the bounty of the Lord in the land of the living.”
The disciples saw “the bounty of the Lord” on the mountaintop. They witnessed the dazzling glory of Jesus shining in the company of Moses and Elijah, the glory of the fulfillment of the law and the prophets.
Abraham had also stood in the presence of the Lord, and he had been overwhelmed by a terrifying darkness pierced by the bright light of a smoking brazier and a flaming torch.
The road from Abraham’s encounter with God to the disciples’ encounter with God was a long one.
Lent is an acting out of the long road from the covenant to its fulfillment. It is our public proclamation that we are a people who “eagerly await the coming of our savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
We recognize that “we have our citizenship in heaven,” but in the meantime we exercise our citizenship on earth for the coming of the kingdom of God.
We purge ourselves of our self-reliance, our thirst for power, and our preoccupation with self-interest, sacrificing and praying that God might “deliver Israel from all her distress.”
Christians, on pilgrimage toward the heavenly city, should seek and think of those things which are above. This duty in no way decreases, rather it increases, the importance of their obligation to work with everyone in the building of a more human world.
Vatican II, Constitution on the Church
in the Modern World, 1965: 57