March 15, 2019

This Sunday’s Gospel tells of Christ’s transfiguration before Peter, James, and John (Luke 9:28-36). What a beautiful gift the Lord blessed them with in that moment. In preparation for Sunday’s Mass, Fr. James Hudgins, Pastor at St. Jude Parish, wrote the following reflection on the transfiguration and the humbling privilege we have to put ourselves in the presence of the Lord.

St. Thomas Aquinas once defined joy as “the conscious possession of a good.” Joy, therefore, has two prerequisites: that one possesses something good, and that one be fully aware of it. Every person alive, without exception, is blessed abundantly by God. We all possess not only some good, but many, very great blessings. However, very few people are consciously aware of just how blessed they are. This is why very few people can find joy in ordinary things. The secret of living joyfully is to grow in conscious awareness of one’s blessings.

Recognize that everything in life is an unmerited gift. Every breath, every heartbeat, even your very existence is a complete unmerited gift. The greater your humility, the greater will be your awareness of this. That awareness is gratitude itself. It’s the taproot of joy.

Joyful people never feel entitled. Entitled people think everything is owed to them. They see nothing as a gift. They have no humility, no gratitude, and therefore no joy. When Peter, James and John saw Jesus transfigured before their eyes, they knew the greatness of God, and how much they had been given. They learned humility at that moment. Let’s put ourselves in God's presence as they did. That’s where we will learn humility. Humility is the soil in which the fruit of gratitude can grow, and the flower of joy can blossom at last.

-Fr. Hudgins