Second Sunday of Lent - 17th March, 2019

Liturgical Reflection

Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18       Philippians 3:17-4:1       Luke 9: 28-36
 
 

Why the Transfiguration on a Lenten Sunday? Two events recorded by Luke in the same chapter as today’s Gospel text may help us to grasp the meaning of the Transfiguration story.

At Caesarea Philippi, when Jesus asked his closest disciples 'Who do you say I am?' Peter replied: 'you are the Christ of God.' To this Jesus responded with the first prophecy of his passion, death and resurrection and a warning that those who followed him must be ready for suffering. Luke tells us that a week later Jesus took Peter, James and John with him up a mountain to pray.

Some see the Caesarea incident as a turning point in Jesus’ ministry. He had been attracting large crowds in Galilee and the unfriendly, even hostile, attention of the official religious leaders in Jerusalem. Commentories often deal with the impact of the Transfiguration on the three disciples; but it was Jesus who was Transfigured. What, we may ask, did this experience mean for him? After that prophecy, was he seeking some reassuring direction from his Father about his mission in the world?

 

We do not have the content of his prayer; but we do know that the three disciples saw and heard Moses and Elijah talking with him 'about his passing which he was to accomplish in Jerusalem.' The word accomplish assures us that his passion and death were not just imposed on him by his enemies but what he freely chose to endure in fidelity to his mission from the Father. So, the Transfiguration experience seems to confirm his courage to face whatever would happen in Jerusalem, whatever the cost.

At his baptism Jesus heard from the Father confirmation of his identity: 'You are my Son, the beloved; my favour rests on you.' At the Transfiguration on the mountain, the three disciples, too, heard the voice from heaven saying 'this is my Son, the Chosen One. Listen to him.' The season of Lent calls us to an ever more attentive listening to the One who is the Way the Truth and the Life. So we pray, not to enjoy the vision seen by Peter, James and John but for transformation of our lives towards greater fidelity in our discipleship. Grant to us, oh Lord, a heart renewed. Recreate in us your own spirit, Lord!

Sr Mary Britt OP