2nd Sunday of Lent
Wonderful for us
Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone by themselves. There in their presence he was transfigured: his clothes became dazzling white, whiter than any earthly bleacher could make them. Elijah appeared to them with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus.
Then Peter spoke to Jesus. "Rabbi," he said "it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." He did not know what to say; they were so frightened. And a cloud came, covering them in shadow; and there came a voice from the cloud, "This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him." Then suddenly, when they looked round, they saw no one with them any more but only Jesus.
Think of someone you have known who was like Jesus. That person may not be a saint, and you may have had to put up with his or her faults and failings. Yet the person reminds you of Jesus: probably not rich or trying to be with the rich, not looking for fame, not having an easy life, yet living it to the full. It is likely that the person was generous, willing to give of themselves, willing to share what they had, willing to go the extra mile to help a neighbour. The person was likely to be humble and down-to-earth, not thinking themselves above anybody and not looking down on any one. They were likely to be honest in their dealings with others and when they said something, you could believe them. They tried to be faithful to God, to family and friends, and to do what was asked of them in life.
And like Jesus, the person probably suffered. Jesus was generous, humble, honest, faithful; in living like that, he suffered. He knew the suffering that went with ordinary hard work, the unreasonable expectations and demands of others, and the direct opposition and hostility of some who ought to know better. Jesus suffered from the opposition of the religious authorities in Jerusalem, who were afraid of him, afraid that he would destroy their religion and even their country.
As they made life more and more difficult for him, he realized that he must either give up and go home to Nazareth, or face his opponents, knowing full well that they would kill him. Before he went to Jerusalem, he took Peter, James and John up a mountain and was transfigured. Suddenly the man they knew, poor, humble and down-to-earth, changed before their eyes. His divinity shone out and they saw for a brief moment what God is like. Two great leaders of their people, whom they had heard about from their childhood appeared, and were talking to Jesus about his life and death. They were Moses and Elijah and they were assuring him that he was going to bring about all they had worked for and hoped for. Then there was a voice from heaven: ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him.’
A glimpse of God
They saw the divinity of Jesus. The qualities they admired in Jesus were the qualities of God himself: generosity, humility, honesty, truthfulness, fidelity. These same qualities that you have seen in the person who reminds you of Jesus, give you a glimpse of what God is like. Transfiguration takes place in unexpected places and gives us a glimpse of God. Two down-and-out men came to the door asking for a cup of tea and a sandwich. They were relatives, both alcoholics but sober at this time of the day. As they talked, I was touched by their courtesy, their good nature and by the way they looked out for each other. When there was one sandwich left on the plate, the older man took it, broke it in two and gave half to the younger one. They reminded me of Jesus, I saw him there transfigured.
Prayer: From St. Patrick’s Breastplate
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord