Friday, March 28, 2014

And His Clothing Became White

Praised be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!

On the mountain of the temptations, Satan challenged the Lord Jesus to prove that he is the Son of God. However, by refusing to display his divine power, Jesus did not give in to the seductions of the tempter. On another mountain, what Jesus refused to display to Satan, he revealed to his disciples Peter, James, and John. “He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.” The glory that Jesus showed these disciples was his glory as God’s only begotten Son…full of grace and truth. The Father was not at all ashamed to declare who Jesus truly is: This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him!

As we continue to look at the Baptismal character of Lent, let us reflect on the white baptismal garment. The gospel spoke about the clothes of Jesus becoming white as light. We will appreciate the meaning of the baptismal garment if we keep in mind that when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, the first thing they realized is that they were naked. Nakedness means deprivation of dignity. A person who is dishonored is stripped of his dignity. Nakedness brings shame. Thus, in the parable of the prodigal son, the father commands that his son be given the finest robe at his return. His prodigal son received back the dignity he lost to loosed living.

Jesus, the Son of God, was clothed with a white garment. In Sacred Scriptures, a white garment indicated that the person wearing it came from heaven. Thus, the angels who appeared at the tomb of Jesus and also at his ascension would wear white garments. Jesus’ white garment revealed that he is the Son of Man who came from heaven: No one ascends to heaven except the one who descended from heaven…the Son of Man who is from heaven. Jesus, who is clothed with unsurpassable light in heaven, emptied himself of that glory when he came down to earth to save us. On the Cross, he hung stripped of his garments. He was humiliated…exposed not only to the elements but also to the mockery of the passersby. And this he did so that you and I would be restored to the dignity which the evil one took away from Adam and Eve on the day they ate the forbidden fruit. The Son of God stripped himself of heavenly dignity so that he could share it to those who will be baptized. He made us sons and daughters of his Father by the sacrament of Baptism. “He saved us and called us to a holy life…according to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began…” Our baptismal dignity is a heavenly dignity. It means that we belong not to this earth but to heaven. Our true home is in heaven, St. Paul would later on say. In the book of Revelations, the souls of the just in heaven would be shown wearing their robes which were washed clean by the Blood of the Lamb.

“Ang damit pambinyag ay tanda ng muling pagsilang kay Kristo at ng dakilang karangalan ng mga anak ng Diyos. Nawa’y panatilihin niya itong walang bahid hanggang sa muling pagbabalik ni Kristong ating Panginoon.” With these words we were clothed in white on the day we were baptized. Let us always keep in mind who we really are: we are sons and daughters of God. Let us live as such. Let us live lives worthy of our Christian vocation. Remember, we are not children of darkness. We are children of light and of the day. Let us shun deeds of darkness and live as children of light.

Jesus, I trust in you! O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

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