Second Sunday of Lent – Cycle C
1st Reading – Genesis: 15: 5-12, 17-18
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 27: 1, 7-8, 8-9, 13-14
2nd Reading – Philippians 3: 17— 4: 1
Gospel – Luke 9: 28B-36
This version of “The Transfiguration” from Luke is probably the earliest recorded. Luke tells us why Jesus went to the mountain (to pray) and in this gospel, he is the only evangelist to let us eavesdrop on the conversation between Jesus, Elijah, and Moses. Two different conversations are happening; the first between Jesus, Elijah, and Moses and the second between Jesus and the disciples.
In scripture, the mountain represents an encounter with God. Jesus’ time in the desert (which we heard last week) prepared Him for this moment. It was yet another pivotal epiphany for Jesus. Just like His baptism, time in the desert and future experience in Gethsemane, Jesus was faced with a decision which also required a commitment.
The heavenly men were Moses (who represented the law) and Elijah (who represented the prophets). These two men would have been familiar to Peter, James, and John. Their conversation with Jesus would have been the verification the disciples needed that Jesus was the messiah and had come to fulfill both the law and the prophecy before Him.
Moses and Elijah are discussing Jesus’ passage or “exodus.” The term exodus meant “going out from” in the context of death and liberation. It was the perfect word to describe Jesus’ upcoming experience. He had to go to Jerusalem as it was seen as the religious capital at the time. Even though there was still work to be done in Galilee, Jesus had to go.
We can view the events in this gospel as a means to bolster the faith and steadfastness of the disciples. It was a glimpse of the Kingdom of God that Jesus promised to them in Luke 9: 27
Truly I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”
It was a peek at the goal and what would be, once the work was complete. Remember it is Peter, James, and John who will also witness Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.
The word transfiguration means: an unveiling of the Divine Glory of Christ. Think back on the transfiguration moments in your life. These visionary moments defy explanation, and yet we are changed. Perhaps it was the first time you saw your newborn grandchild or stood at the edge of the Pacific Ocean at Big Sur State Park. Maybe you paused at the edge of the Grand Canyon or watched someone you love peacefully die which released them from suffering. We have all experienced transfigurations in our lives. We have all stood in the presence of God and thought “it is good that we are here.” It is no wonder Peter wanted to build a tent and stay. I can’t blame him.
Our transfiguration is a continual process. We are constantly in a state of repentance and transformation; turning away from sin and turning towards God. We hear this gospel story every year during Lent to remind us that we are being formed into Christ’s image. It happens throughout the year, but we participate as a community during this liturgical season.
1. Think back on a transfiguration moment in your life. Were you afraid? Once you saw the glory of God, did you want the moment to last?
2. Where is God calling you to transform during this particular Lenten season?