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On the second Sunday of Lent we always read one of the accounts of the Transfiguration of Jesus. Since this is year B in our three year cycle of Lectionary readings, we read from the Gospel of Mark. (We read from Matthew in year A and Luke in year C.) Mark’s account of the Transfiguration immediately follows the first of Jesus’ three predictions of his suffering, death and resurrection. These predictions were meant to remind Jesus’ followers that he was not an imperial or conquering Messiah who had come to restore Israel to a place of power and prominence in the world. Rather, Jesus led by example, and it is through his suffering, death and resurrection that he would set aright the relationship between God and his people.
Coming as it does immediately after Jesus’ first prediction of his suffering and death, the Transfiguration gives Peter, James, and John a picture of the glory to come. These three were often singled out among the other disciples for special moments with Jesus. The figures of Moses and Elijah represent the “law and the prophets” two important voices in the Old Testament. The “dazzling white” garments would have accentuated the fact that this was a heavenly vision.
Our first reading this Sunday is the story of Abraham and Isaac. God has put Abraham to the test by asking him to “sacrifice” his son Isaac, “your only son, whom you love.” Abraham responded to God with total and unconditional trust. As a result, God declared that “because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your beloved son, I will bless you abundantly………” This story reminds us of another Father who “did not spare his own Son, but handed him over for the sake of us all………” (These words are taken from the letter of St. Paul to the Romans. 8.32, which is our second reading this weekend.)
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
1. Can you remember a “transfiguring” moment(s) in your life ---- a time when for whatever reason you felt God’s presence and grace?
2. Transfiguring moments are gracious gifts from a loving God and while we might like to stay in them, (“Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us make three tents.”) we are not able to do so. Why do you think that is?
3. God sometimes asks a lot of us, but God also blesses us abundantly. Where have you experienced God’s abundant blessings in your life?