“Luck is When Preparation Meets Opportunity.”

(For the audio version of this blog, please visit: https://brothersinchristcmf.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Mass-Blog-for-the-Second-Sunday-of-Lent-2024.mp3)

If you believe that bit of wisdom in our headline, people of faith are lucky. It came from the mind of Lucius Annaeus Seneca, an ancient Roman philosopher. And although he was a pagan, he was also a pen pal of Paul—Christianity’s strongest defender. Centuries after Seneca wrote this pithy remark, it’s become the inspiration for modern-day CEOs hosting crucial business meetings.

One of Christianity’s most inspiring meetings is commemorated in this Sunday’s gospel reading: Christ’s transfiguration (Mk 9:2-10). This is where Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus as he literally blinded disciples Peter, James and John with his brilliance. Moses and Elijah represented God’s law and the prophets, respectively, and as such, were to be humanity’s preparation for salvation. Jesus became our opportunity for enjoying that outcome.

But luck had nothing to do with this meeting. It was God’s gift to us—and therefore represents our hope for salvation’s success in us.

The word “success” is often substituted for “luck” in Seneca’s quote. But if success is the opportunity God offers us, it still requires action on our part—just as giving a gift requires a giver’s preparation. The giver discerns the recipient’s passions and contemplates their needs. Then that gift is wrapped, so beauty encompasses it as it is given. But choosing the right opportunity for gift-giving is key to hitting the recipient at the right time. Because God is love, these things come naturally to The Giver. Or supernaturally.

So in the transfiguration, the law (designed to direct human action), and prophecy (intended to give us insight into the consequence of our actions) meet love: the desire for someone’s good. God is I AM, and BEING that love, God comes to us through the gift of His Son.

Where ancient humanity failed to find that love in this world via words written in stone and spoken by flesh, Jesus points the way to the otherworldly Promised Land of his Father’s irrational love—which is the bridge between this world and that one.

After the disciples witnessed their Master’s transfiguration, God added sound to their hearts’ vision:

“This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”

As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged them not to relate their vision to anyone until the Son of Man rose from the dead. They kept it in their hearts, but their minds still questioned what rising from the dead meant.

The answer comes as Christ’s gift to us, unwrapped in John’s gospel: whoever keeps God’s word in their heart will never taste death, as people who live by laws carved in stone and spoken by flesh do. Jesus told this to people who were ready to stone him for blasphemy (John 8:52-59). Harboring God’s word means entering the landless and timeless realm of being that existed before Moses and Elijah—even before Abraham, the father of faith on earth.

Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day,” Jesus told the stoners. “He saw it and was glad. … “[And] before Abraham came to be, I AM.”

The spirit that gave Abraham the courage to sacrifice his son based on faith in the irrational love of I AM (Gn 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18) is the same spirit that gave us Jesus. Christ’s love was manifested in the sacrifice of his flesh—showing us that God lives beyond the flesh.

It is that spirit of love that gave Paul the guts to share with us the key to his courage:

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31b-34)

LOVE is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Luck has an expiration date. True Love doesn’t.

–Tom Andel


  1. I’ve used that saying many times and can share numerous examples of how just being “in the game” is one of the most important requirements for a successful outcome in business or the business of life.

    Our faith life is similar. If we make prayer and visits to our Lord near the Tabernacle, or if fortunate enough to have access to Jesus in an adoration chapel, our relationship to Him changes everything.


    • As businesses, schools AND churches are realizing after their lessons from Covid lock-downs, NOTHING replaces in-person interaction–whether in an office, classroom OR chapel. That said, remote is an attitude as much as a location.

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