2ND SUNDAY OF LENT: TRANSFIGURATION
Each year, the second Sunday of Lent is consecrated to honoring the Mystery
of the Transfiguration of the Lord. The scripture readings today provide us
with vital insight for living an authentically Christian life. The Book of
Genesis reminds us of the call of Abram, and his moving from one place to
another, from the familiar to the unknown. Our second reading from St.
Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy reminds us of the hardship which the gospel
demands, a hardship necessarily connected with change. And, our Gospel
reading from St. Matthew describes for us the transfiguration of Jesus on
What do these three readings reveal to us about the Christian life? That
transformation, moving from one state to another, from the familiar to the
unknown, is at the very core of the Christian life; transformation happens
only through some kind of movement or change, and it is usually affected
only when it involves hardship, pain, sacrifice, or self-denial.
When we go into the movie theater, we find a seat that’s suitable and get
ready to watch the movie. The house lights dim, and an image appears on the
screen. It is not the film we came to see. It is the preview of coming
attractions, a brief glimpse of the highlights of a film opening soon. The
moviemakers and theater owners hope the preview will stimulate our interest
enough to make us want to come back and see the whole film. On the Mount
of the Transfiguration, Peter, James, and John, the inner circle of Jesus’
disciples, were given a preview of coming attractions.
On the top of the mountain, the disciples Peter, James, and John
experienced transfiguration. Out of the cloud, they heard a lovely
voice: “This is my beloved Son; listen to Him!” Peter exclaimed:
“It is wonderful for us to be here.” Peter wanted to stay on the mountain and |
wanted to build three tents there, away from all troubles and dangers. They
wanted to stay up on the mountain because they thought that by seeing the
glorified Jesus, they had achieved holiness in life.
Jesus shows us that holiness is not a place, a mood, or a feeling.
Holiness is an action that has to be discovered in our lives by loving God
and our brothers and sisters. The holiness that is expected of us is
service to the poor, to the underprivileged, and to the forgotten.
Transfiguration invites us to break the chains of our selfishness and pride
and find time to share our time, talents, and treasures with the poor and
the needy. Then, we really experience the transfiguration in our daily
Each time we celebrate The Holy Eucharist, we should experience the
transfiguration in our Eucharistic celebration, and from this holy
experience, we should share outside of the church by loving and showing
mercy to people, who are broken, poor, sick, suffering, and unwanted. St.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta is a great example of this: she shared the
mountain experience that she found each time in the Eucharist. Mother
Teresa shared her holy experience by serving to the poorest of the poor.
St. Mother Teresa said, “Just as Jesus allows Himself to be broken, to be
given to us as food, we too must break, and we must share our lives with
each other, in our homes and in our communities and in our lives becomes
the Eucharistic life.”
However, Jesus said we have to go back down from the mountain and face the
realities of life. We all know the top of the mountain always feels good,
very comfortable, safe, and secure; but to come down from the mountain is
not very easy. It means we have to face our daily challenges, and it is
very risky to come down and live with ordinary people, to experience pain,
suffering, sickness, and so on. Nobody wants to come down; everybody wants
to be on the “top place.”
The joy and comfort of the Transfiguration experience strengthen the
disciples to face the agony and trouble of Calvary. In our lives, we, too,
can have moments of transfiguration with rare moments of light and joy.
These moments of transfiguration are given to us to strengthen us for our
everyday tasks and to enable us to face the cross, which in some shape or
form comes to everyone.
We can identify with the disciples their mountaintop experiences of joy and
consolation, and we, too, want to stay on top of the mountain. When we
experience moments of trial and suffering, we want to flee from the
mountain. We forget that God did not promise us a rose garden, but a
garden of olives and a crown of thorns! For the disciples, the
Transfiguration experience was a preparation for their trials, which they
are going to face in the near future. Also, Jesus wants to teach us the
glory shining into our present sufferings. Jesus does not change the
world, but Jesus can transform our hearts if we allow Jesus to come into