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The Second Sunday of Lent

March 16, 2019

Alleluia, Alleluia.

One does not live by bread alone,
  but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

 

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke 9: 28b-36

Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray. While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white.  And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.

Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”  But he did not know what he was saying.

While he was still speaking, a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud.  Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.

After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone.  They fell silent and did not at that time tell anyone what they had seen.

The Gospel of the Lord

REFLECTION by Monsignor Joseph T. Marino

On first hearing today’s Gospel about the Transfiguration of Jesus, most people would wonder how this event has anything to do with them.  Most can understand that the Transfiguration is a powerful demonstration that Jesus is truly divine because God the Father identifies Jesus as: This is my chosen Son; listen to him.  Since we are not divine, we rightly wonder how the Transfiguration could have any relevance to our earthly lives.  And yet, the fact that each of the four Gospels records this event clearly demonstrates that the Transfiguration is important!  But the question remains: if it is important, how does it connect to my life and yours.

While Jesus is praying, His face brightens and His clothing becomes dazzling white.   Jesus is absorbed into God, and in turn the disciples are drawn into Jesus and his religious experience – a true Divine Encounter.  According to Luke, Jesus is approaching his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.  The Exodus of Jesus is his suffering and humble surrender to the Father — the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  This episode is very much like the event of Jesus’ encounter with the devil that we recalled last Sunday.   The Transfiguration is a moment of decision for Jesus to be the suffering servant of God, and to press on to Jerusalem and to his Cross.  While praying and contemplating his crucifixion and death, the Faithful Father comes to acknowledge and strengthen his Son.  The Son will suffer, but will never be alone; the Son will sacrifice himself, but he will be safe-guarded; the Son will die, but the Father will raise him up!

In turn, the Transfiguration is a significant moment for the disciples.  Soon they will see their master put to death.  The Passion and Death of Jesus will shake their faith and hope in Jesus as the Messiah and Lord.  Lent is the most appropriate time to consider the Transfiguration because this is a time of challenge and decision for us as well.  Lent is a time of temptation; it is a time of choosing between the Cross and the things of the world, as it was for Jesus in this Gospel. 

Every Sunday, we accompany Jesus up the mountain of Holy Mass so that he might be transfigured before us in the Word and Eucharist, so that the Cloud of God can cast a shadow over us.    We too acclaim: Master, it is good that we are here.  Of course it is good because the celebration of the Mass is the Exodus of Jesus, the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus.   It is through the celebration of the Eucharist that we are strengthened to make our way to our own Jerusalem and embrace our own cross.

The Transfiguration is very important and relevant.  However the Transfiguration is not a onetime event.  The Transfiguration is God’s blessing so that we can carry our crosses to our places of sacrifice, and at the same time never forget that the Faithful Father will come to acknowledge and strengthen us, his daughters and sons.  

As we more deeply penetrate the Pascal Mystery and immerse ourselves into the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, we become more willing to embrace our cross and sacrifice for our brothers and sisters.  In this way, like for Jesus the Transfiguration becomes our source of strength.  In the Eucharist, the Faithful Father is anxious to transform us by his power.  So let us accompany Jesus up the mountain of Mass, and there let us witness Jesus being transfigured before us so that in turn God may transform us!

Prosit!

Monsignor Joseph Marino

 

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