In 1939, Detective Comics brought the release of Batman. He is the millionaire Bruce Wayne, who raises an enterprise and wears a masks to become Gotham City’s vigilante, finding counsel in Alfred and Commissioner Gordon, in hopes to avenge the death of his parents and to put an end to evil.
A year before, Jerry Siegal, gave earth a hero named Kal-El from Krypton. In order to protect the family he loves, he creates an alter ego: Superman. He moves to Metropolis to work at the Daily Plant as a news reporter and fights evil in every form.
I bring these two characters to our attention this morning because on Good Friday, March 25, the world will see a production entitled, Batman vs. Superman and the prominent line we hear in the trailer reads, “The greatest gladiator match in the world: God verses man.” Hitting its 20,000,000 view mark on youtube, people are drawn to this because two separate icons battle each other and the outcome is unpredictable to the average follower.
While the world debates on this attraction to see God verses Man, there is something that makes Jesus Christ excel beyond these characters. In today’s Gospel we see how God embraces man. He is the super hero par excellence, not because of strength or power, but because he is able to be both fully human and fully divine, and has come to seek the lost.
There is much I can say about the Transfiguration Account, allow me to focus on one aspect, Peter stating, “Master, it is good we are here, let us make three tents …” (Luke 9:33). When Peter says this he is referring to the tents that are erected to the Feast of Tabernacles. This feast commemorated God’s presence with us in three ways: God with us in the past, God with us in the present, God with us in the future.
God in the past. The Jewish people built tents and dwelled there for 8 days as a ritual reminder of their ancestors who journeyed through the desert and trusted God to provide for them. This feast also celebrated God with us in the present as the Jewish people reaped the harvest to have food for the winter time. Finally, erecting tents to commemorate God with us in the future was a great rehearsal to welcome God’s dwelling in our midst in the end times.
In Jesus, Peter saw our Lord’s glory. He wanted to erect tents because the God of the past, present, and future was in his midst.
So what can we make of this? Two things.
Luke’s account is sandwiched by two of the three predictions of the Lord’s passion. It is prefaced by Peter’s Confession of recognizing Jesus as the Messiah, and follows with the third prediction and a lesson on the so-called followers of Jesus. Therefore, the Transfiguration is surrounded around the concept of Christian Discipleship and teaches us that the greatest meaning of being Christian is not the work we do for Jesus, it is to be with Jesus. God desires that we build our tents and know him as the God of our past, present, and future. Where can we encounter this presence? In the Sacrament of Confession. From one sinner to another, I am personally inviting you to rediscover the riches of knowing Jesus in the confessional, giving Jesus the joy of being your savior. I know I cannot change the hurt that some have experienced in the confessional, but I can assure you, that in this year of Mercy, you will find Jesus somewhere and not just everywhere. In the confessional you can build your tent and meet the God of our past, present, and future.
In closing, we do not need to imitate superheros like Batman and Superman. Why? Because they are fictional. We are real. We are called not to be superheros, we are called to be saints. We do not need the masks of superheros, we need to serve the vulnerable with works of mercy, in secret ways. In doing so, the Father of Jesus looks on us and says, “This is my chosen son, this is my chosen daughter, in whom I am well pleased.”