Gospel Luke 9:28-36
Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up 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.
Each year of the three-year cycle, the gospel of the second Sunday of Lent tells of the Transfiguration. This year we have Luke’s account. Luke’s presents this incident as Jesus instructs his disciples - preparing them for his journey to Jerusalem to meet his fate. The liturgical tradition echoes this outlook, inviting us to learn the lessons of this mysterious incident as we begin our journey of Lent.
In Luke’s account, in the verses immediately preceding, Jesus has warned the apostles of what lies ahead: ‘The Son of Man will be rejected and put to death’; more than that, everyone who wants to be his follower ‘must take up his cross every day and follow him’ (9:22-23). Luke’s account clearly has these warnings in mind. It is filled with reassurance for the chosen followers Jesus has brought up the mountain with him.
Moses and Elijah (representing the Law and the Prophets, the great bearers of old Israel’s hopes) are conversing with Jesus concerning ‘his passing which he was to accomplish in Jerusalem’ (the destiny of Israel was established in the original Passover and Exodus; in what lies ahead, this great destiny is to reach its final moment - as the shadows of the old order give way to the reality they prefigure, the Paschal Mystery).
From the ‘cloud’, so often a symbol of God’s presence in the first Exodus, the voice of God confirms what Jesus has told them of this new Passover: ‘This is my Son, the Chosen One. Listen to him.’ As he tells the story of Jesus, Luke often emphasizes the place of prayer in our Christian life. The Transfiguration took place in a moment of prayer; Jesus had taken the chosen apostles ‘up the mountain to pray’. There he communed with God, readying himself for the mission he was soon to accomplish for the life of the world.
As we make the journey of Lent, this example of his – making Jesus truly our brother and companion– should inspire us to make the journey with him, eager to give ourselves more fully to that personal mission to which God has called us – in our families, our parish community and the broader world.
St. Valentine Faith Community
Mass: 10AM Every Sunday
2670 Chandler Avenue
Suite 7 & 8
Las Vegas, NV 89120
702-523-8963 Rev Sue Provost, Pastor
"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. " (1 John 4:9-10)