When voicing enthusiasm about our grandson entering high school, I noted Freddy was excited about playing high school baseball. A man, whose son graduated last year, cautioned: “He may be on one of several freshman teams, but by senior year only a few players will make the varsity team. Don’t set your expectations too high.” Nothing like squashing one’s enthusiasm. Actually, this man was just trying to prepare us for a letdown. As parents and grandparents, we pray life’s disappointments won’t hurt or crush our children.
In Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up Mount Tabor where they encounter Moses and Elijah, who represent the law and the prophets. Reflecting on the Transfiguration, where the apostles witness Jesus in glory, Scripture scholar, Fr. Donald Senior, writes, “From Matthew’s perspective, the whole sweep of Israel’s salvation history is in view: Moses, Elijah and the End Times fulfillment of the Scripture in Jesus.” This eternal vision granted Peter, James, and John strength for the long, hard, journey ahead.
The apostles needed a strong dose of good news. Six days before the Transfiguration, Jesus pointed to Jerusalem, where He would “suffer greatly” and “be killed.” Talk about bad news—a devastating blow. But Jesus doesn’t leave the apostles at the grave. Through the Transfiguration, Jesus reveals the end of the story—the Resurrection—before they head down the mountain to Jerusalem, where they will witness Jesus crucified.
Not only does the Transfiguration provide a sweeping view of salvation history, it offers a transforming vision for life—a lens for which to view every human experience. As Pope Francis says, “faith is living life from a higher plane.” We take the long view. We go beyond the current situation. We learn that defeat and failure do not define us. Hardship will not overcome us. Disappointment, sickness, and even death will not have the final say. In fact, these struggles—these deaths—can lead us to fall prostrate in prayer before Jesus. And through Jesus’ Resurrection, when we listen to Him, we can rise up from any death.
As parents and grandparents, we lead our children through disappointments by speaking of grace—God’s radiant presence—pulsating through every death or negative experience to bring about new life. We strengthen our children by reinforcing their true worth as God’s beloved children—loved infinitely and unconditionally. Each child is beloved whether the star of the team or a bench warmer, voted on homecoming court or snubbed by the popular group, earns an A or fails a test. We teach our children to take the long view: exclusion from the mean girls doesn’t mean she’ll never have a friend; a failed course, doesn’t mean he won’t thrive in another area of study.
If Freddy makes the varsity team someday, that’s fine, but his worth is not dependent on it. I pray Freddy will view every experience through the Transfiguration—seeing the big picture, the end of the story, the grand sweep of life. Jesus invites us to bring each disappointment, failure, and death to the Eucharist, where through His cross and resurrection, all is transformed into new life. Now, that’s good news!
How will you help your child see beyond disappointment?
Naming Grace in the Domestic Church reflects on Scripture through the lens of a parent/grandparent. To read more reflections or to connect with Mary Pedersen: www.marypedersen.com
The blog on this page presents reflections on the Sunday readings through the lens of a parent/grandparent, aiding leaders of the domestic church in their vital task as “first heralds” or “first preachers” of the Good News in the home.