Year A: Second Sunday of Lent
Gospel: Matthew 17: 1-9
The Gospel for the Second Sunday in Lent is always the Transfiguration. It offers us a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel - the Resurrection - and further ahead the Ascension.
Jesus takes three of His disciples up a mountain for a time apart. In this place, Jesus changes before their eyes - becoming radiant and glorious. The man they had walked with and listened to was now revealed as someone unique - and the voice heard at the Baptism of Jesus is heard again declaring Him to be “My Son - the Beloved”.
Jesus is joined by Moses and Elijah - two figures who had dominated the history of the Hebrew people. Both had confronted worldly powers - and proven the power of God as greater than the might of princes. They had both had their own mountain-top experiences - coming into the presence of God. Moses had met God and received the Law - and had returned to the mountain to plead for God’s mercy on His rebellious people. He had encountered the God who showed the might of His arm - the strength of His commands.
Elijah went to the mountain when he was at the end of his endurance. He was called out of the cave where he had hoped to die - and was told he would encounter God. There was an earthquake - great - wind - fire - but somehow Elijah knew that God was not in those. For him, the presence of God came in the soft breeze - gentle and unobtrusive - but still the presence of God.
In this presence of God, the Light that is in Jesus shines out -and His glory is revealed. The three witnesses are overcome by the experience - the great Law-giver - the great Prophet - and their Lord now revealed in His greatness - all standing before them...
The cloud comes upon them - and they are filled with fear - these things were beyond their understanding. Their reaction had been to build a monument - but God’s instruction to them was not to build but to listen...
When the events have passed, Jesus has returned to “normal” - but knows that such an experience will change them forever - they can never look at Him in the same way again. And so He warns them not to speak of it to anyone else until they have begun to understand what it meant - a meaning that would only become apparent after His resurrection.
What does it mean for me?
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