LENT II Gen 22: 1-18; Romans 8: 31-34; Mk 9: 2-10
A man and a woman had a little daughter. They lived for her. They were shocked when they discovered that she became chronically ill and her illness resisted the efforts of the best doctors, they became totally discouraged and inconsolable.
Soon she passed away. The parents were completely distressed, and they shut themselves off from their family and friends. But, one night the woman had a dream that she was in heaven. There she saw a long procession of little children processing like little angels before the throne of God. Every child was dressed in a dazzling white robe and they each held a lit candle. However, when the woman saw her daughter, she noticed that her candle was not lit.
The mother ran up to her, embraced her, and then asked her how it was that her candle was the only one that was not lit. She said, “Mother, they often relight it, but your tears always put it out.”
Just at that moment the woman woke from her dream. They decided to embrace their loss with Christian hope and that they would no longer extinguish their daughter’s little candle with their useless tears.
The gospel account of the transfiguration of Jesus tells us that our sufferings will lead to the transformation of our lives. Jesus takes his closest disciples up the mountain, alone, to give them an insight into who he is and prepare them for the trials to come.
If the Lord subjected Abraham to a trial, Our Lord takes his closest disciples up the mountain to prepare them for an upcoming trial: his Passion and death.
Our Lord gives his disciples a glimpse of his divinity. They’ve followed him and had faith in him, and now he gives them a deeper insight into who he truly is and to strengthen their faith. Elijah and Moses, through their appearance, show the disciples that Our Lord is the fulfillment of the Law and the prophets.
Transfiguration established Jesus’ glorious identity as the beloved Son of God, and placed his divine Son-ship in the context of Jewish expectations about the kingdom and the resurrection. While praying, Jesus was transfigured into a shining figure, full of heavenly glory. This reminds us of Moses and Elijah who also experienced the Lord in all His glory. Moses had met the Lord in the burning bush at Mount Horeb (Ex 3:1-4). After his encounter with God, Moses' face shone so brightly that the people were frightened, and Moses had to wear a veil over his face (Ex 34:29-35).
Luke mentions the topic of the conversation of Jesus with Moses and Elijah: they talked about the suffering Jesus was about to undergo in Jerusalem. Then the voice of the father was heard “This is my beloved son; Listen to him”. Assured of his Father’s love, Jesus was determined to carry out his Father’s plans to save the world.
Like Jesus, we are also assured of the Father’s love in our sufferings. Our sufferings are designed to strengthen us. “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” says Helen Keller. Every challenge, every difficulty, every moment of suffering, is an opportunity for transformation and spiritual growth.
Jesus’ real transfiguration took place on His resurrection after his passion and death. When we suffer by standing with the underprivileged; when we accept suffering for the sake of justice; when we accept suffering for the sake of a co-worker who is not able to defend himself or herself; or when we accept suffering to build a strong family, we are preparing our way for our final glorification.
The main purpose of today’s readings is to give us an invitation as well as a challenge to put our Faith in the loving promises of a merciful God Who sent His Son to die for us and to transform our lives by renewing them during Lent. Our transformed lives will enable us to radiate the glory and grace of the transfigured Lord around us by our Spirit-filled lives.
The primary purpose of Jesus’ Transfiguration was to allow him to consult his Heavenly Father and ascertain His plan for His Son’s suffering, death and Resurrection. Secondary aim was to make Jesus’ chosen disciples aware of Jesus’ Divine glory so that they might discard their worldly ambitions and dreams of a conquering political Messiah and might be strengthened in their time of trial.
Just as Jesus’ Transfiguration strengthened the apostles in their time of trial, each holy Mass should be our source of heavenly strength against temptations, and our renewal during Lent. In addition, our holy Communion with the living Jesus should be the source of our daily “transfiguration,” transforming our minds and hearts so that we may do more good by humble and selfless service to others. May the Lord strengthen us to renounce our sins and transform us to a holy life.