|By Fr. Brendan McGuire
Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, San Jose and Vicar General for special projects, Diocese of San Jose. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good Chef; Good Lord
March 12, 2017
There was once a young American man, who suffered a number of difficult traumas in his life. He decided to go to Europe to take a 20-week cooking course in Paris under the tutelage of Chef Bruno. Bruno did more than just teach him how to cook. He taught him many life lessons. One day with pots and pans flying all over the kitchen, Bruno turned around to the young man and said, “Remember, there is nothing created or destroyed in the kitchen only transformed.” That is so true of any good chef. I have a friend who who does the same thing with food and sometimes it is so beautifully presented I do not touch it but look at it as it is more like art than food. Great chefs take the most ordinary ingredients and transform them into something beautiful.
The Lord does the same in our lives, if we allow it. We hear that message in today’s reading about the Transfiguration of Jesus. Jesus is transformed so the disciples can see the beauty of who he really is. In a sense, he showed them what the meal will look like beforehand. Then he goes back and teaches them how to cook. When the disciples see who Jesus is, they say “Oh my gosh, that is phenomenal! Let’s build three tents for Jesus, Moses and Elijah.” He showed them his glory and the Father calls out and says, “Listen to him; this is my beloved Son; listen to him.”
Our journey of Lent is learning to listen to Jesus in our life; learning to listen to the most ordinary things in our life and finding how Christ can transform them into something magnificent. The challenge for us is to allow the ordinariness of our lives to be transformed. It requires us to let go of so many preconceived notions; notions that could be good and bad; that we think ourselves not worthy of; not good enough. Instead we have to let go and find that the Lord can make greatness. The Great Chef of life can make the greatest dish from the most ordinary plate but we have to allow him to do so. The whole journey of Lent mirrors the journey of life. It is a snapshot of what we are called to do, to allow the Lord to take us and to transform us.
That sounds wonderful but how can we do that? First, we must recognize that we need transformation. We are not going to allow God to transform us if we think we are good enough; we must have the desire to be transformed: “Lord, I want to be kinder, gentler, more forgiving. Transform my life.”
Then comes our invitation to God to transform us; an invitation into the kitchen of our lives to make his best dish; an invitation to take the ordinariness of life and make something extraordinary. God never interferes with our freedom and will only come in when we allow him. Finally, after we have the desire and the invitation, then we need to allow the Lord to his work with us. We must step back and let it happen. If we can do these things then the Lord will truly transform our lives by the grace of god.