Second Sunday of Lent

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Luke 9:28b-36

Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up to the mountain to pray. While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But he did not know what he was saying. While he was still speaking, a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.” After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. They fell silent and did not at that time tell anyone what they had seen.

The Gospel for the Second Sunday of Lent tells of the Transfiguration of Jesus. Just prior to this in the Gospel According to Luke is Jesus’ first prediction of the Passion and the conditions He lays down for discipleship. The Son of Man must suffer and die, and the disciple of Jesus must be willing to take up his or her cross in order to share in His glory.

Confirmation that the sufferings predicted by Jesus will end in His glory is offered by the Transfiguration. Jesus is revealed in His glory, as the fulfillment of the Law (represented by Moses) and the Prophets (represented by Elijah). He goes up to the mountain to pray. The mountain is always the place of prayer. There, His glory is revealed to the three chief Apostles, Peter, John, and James. They are stunned, of course. Not knowing what to say, Peter bumbles words about building three tents, one for each of the three standing in glory before them. The Jews celebrated the feast of Tabernacles, or Booths, when they built small buildings to celebrate the joy of the harvest. Peter, overcome by joy, is thinking of how to celebrate this moment, really not knowing what to say.

A shadow overcomes them and they are frightened, as well they should be. The power and the glory of God is made known in their sight. Fear of the Lord is an appropriate response. A voice speaks, interrupting Peter. The voice, like the voice at Jesus’ baptism, affirms His identity and His mission. “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.” This is my chosen one, the one who will reconcile Israel and the whole world to me. Whereas before you listened to the Law and to the Prophets, now you must listen to Him. This is why, when the voice was finished speaking, Jesus is found alone. There are no others to whom we are to listen.

Earlier, Jesus spoke of His sufferings, predicting His Passion. Then He spoke of His disciples having to carry their crosses. Now, He speaks of the Apostles listening to Him. To listen is to obey. Hear Jesus and act on His word. Share in Jesus’ sufferings and you will share in His glory.

Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.


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