2nd Sunday in Lent 25th February 2024
This week’s Gospel is the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus which we will hear again on the feast of the Transfiguration on 6th August. Jesus takes His 3 close companions, Peter, James and John up a high mountain away from everyone else. Mark writes simply, ‘There in their presence He was transfigured.’ In case we are unsure what that means Mark goes on to describe Jesus’ appearance. That was not all: the prophet Elijah and Moses also appeared and were in conversation with Jesus.
Not surprisingly, it was Peter who spoke first, wanting to build tents for all 3. Peter obviously wanted to honour Jesus and hang on to this special moment and it was, in a way, a way of revealing to them how important Jesus was by this appearance with Elijah and Moses. One of those on the high mountain must have related the story to Mark, maybe even Peter himself. When we are confused or frightened or uncertain we may go silent but equally we may just say the first thing that comes into our heads and that may be what happened to Peter! The clouds then open and a voice is heard saying, ‘This is My Son, the Beloved. Listen to Him.’ Elijah and Moses disappear and Jesus is once more alone with them.
What are we to make of this event? There is much symbolism – a high mountain which reflects the difficult journey that the disciples will have to make as followers of Jesus; the appearance of 2 of the greatest characters of the Old Testament, recognising the importance of Jesus; the disappearance of these 2 leaving Jesus as the one who is the most important, the one who is to be listened to and to be believed and followed.
The final part of the Gospel is not to be overlooked. After this experience, which didn’t make much sense to the disciples, they come down from the mountain, presumably to rejoin, the others. Jesus now speaks, seemingly for the 1st time, and warns them not to tell anyone what they had seen until ‘after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.’ They kept this faithfully but ‘discussed what “rising from the dead” could mean’. We know what this is like: we have all seen and experienced things that we couldn’t understand but later, sometimes a long time late, the pieces fall into place and we understand the significance. Only after Jesus had died and risen from the dead would the 3 realise the significance of the transfiguration of Jesus.
During this season of Lent we have the time and opportunity to reflect on what is happening in our lives. When we pause to reflect we can be open to what God is saying to us and we can listen to Jesus, as the disciples were told to by the voice from the cloud. As we journey through Lent we can journey with Jesus as He descends from the mountain on the long and difficult road to Calvary.
This weekend we are celebrating the First Profession of our Novice, Lieve. Her journey thus far has involved pausing often to listen and to reflect on what God was calling her to do and to be. We wish her well and pray that she continues to walk with the Lord and remains open to His will for her. God bless you, Lieve!
Sr. Margaret Mattison