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SECOND SUNDAY IN LENT – THE TRANSFIGURATION
The Gospel for the Second Sunday of Lent gives us the Transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor. It is rich in material for reflection. There is always something awe-inspiring about mountains. On the top the air is clean and crisp. The panoramic view of the surrounding country-side lifts us from the hustle and bustle of the rat-race, and raises our mind and heart to God.
The top of a mountain is a natural place for encountering God. It is small wonder then that in the Bible God often chooses a mountain top to reveal Himself and His plans. It was on Mount Sinai that God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses. Jesus gave his first teachings in the Sermon on the Mount. He often retired to the mountain at night to pray. He was crucified on Mount Calvary and ascended to heaven from Mount Olivet.
In today’s Gospel he is Transfigured before his apostles on Mount Tabor. Peter, James and John are with him. And they will be with him in the agony of the garden. This will be a preparation for that ordeal. Moses and Elijah are also present speaking with Jesus about his approaching death. Moses is the great law giver and Elijah the great prophet. In the presence of these two, representing the law and the prophets the voice of the Father is heard, “This is my beloved son listen to him.” Slowly, the transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant is taking place.
The Transfiguration was the mountain-top experience of the apostles which prepared them for their future trials. The Mass is our mountain-top experience which prepares us for the trials of our day. The Mass is not a transfiguration but a transubstantiation, in which bread and wine are transformed into the glorious Risen Jesus. And in the joy and consolation of Communion we say with Peter, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.” And we do not want to leave. But it is not to be. Soon we will hear the words, “The Mass is ended. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.” So we pick up our cross and leave to face the trials of the day. But having been to the top of the mountain we know that “nothing can separate us from the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.”