SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT
Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone by themselves.
Once he was described ‘praying alone in the company of his disciples’. He led them, as us, to where we are both solitary and irrevocably connected: alone and with. However we may resist it, there is no avoiding this destination.
There in their presence he was transfigured: his clothes became dazzlingly white, whiter than any earthly bleacher could make them.
He could beckon them into no deeper intimacy than this. His physical form was revealed to them, as he already knew it to be, translucent with the light of the Father. Out of this core of his being he says, ‘I am the light of the world’.
Elijah appeared to them with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus.
This is his spiritual heritage: the Law and the Prophets. They talk with him from within himself as the Word, from the eternal into history. They each understand each other because they are one in the incarnate Word.
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.
Peter is again the spokesman for the Twelve and again shows that the rock on which Jesus bult his church is fallible, fearful and yet, all importantly, faithful. Fear is a sign of recognising that what he is meeting is the limit of his own identity.
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.’
From behind the veil, from a new dimension of reality, they receive understanding, that they cannot understand, of where Jesus comes from and where he is leading us all through those who listen to him.
Then suddenly, when they looked round, they saw no one with them anymore but only Jesus.
Life resumes as before but a life being transformed by what they have seen
As they came down from the mountain, he warned them to tell no one what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. They observed the warning faithfully, though among themselves they discussed what ‘rising from the dead’ could mean.
How could they talk about it openly yet? They needed the full revelation, the Resurrection, which would transfigure them and all humanity.
(The Feast of the Transfiguration is August 6th, the day in 1945 of the blinding flash of Hiroshima.)
Lenten Reflections 2020