The Gospel 5.3.2023
Sunday, 5th March 2023
2nd Sunday of Lent
Verse Before the Gospel
Cf. Mt 17:5
From the shining cloud the Father’s voice is heard:
This is my beloved Son, hear him.
Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother,
and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them;
his face shone like the sun
and his clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them,
conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, behold,
a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,
then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him.”
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate
and were very much afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying,
“Rise, and do not be afraid.”
And when the disciples raised their eyes,
they saw no one else but Jesus alone.
As they were coming down from the mountain,
Jesus charged them,
“Do not tell the vision to anyone
until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
This was not the first time that the Son of God spoke to Moses and Elijah on a high mountain. Recall that Moses was called up to Mount Sinai (also called Horeb) to be with the Lord for forty days and forty nights, during which time the finger of God inscribed the Law on tablets, given to Moses to give to the people. During that time, the Israelites, from the base of the mountain, saw the summit consumed in fire. Similarly, Elijah, the great prophet, was called up that same mountain to encounter the Lord. He entered a cave and waited. Elijah then encountered a strong and violent wind, an earthquake and a fire. But God was not in any of them. Then Elijah heard a light quiet sound, a whisper, and he hid his face out of reverence as the Lord spoke to him.
In the experience of the Transfiguration, which we ponder today, the Son of God, now in the flesh, allowed His glory to once again shine forth. As He did, He conversed with Moses and Elijah in the presence of three of His disciples. These disciples were in awe, just as Moses and Elijah had been during their first encounters with God on Mount Sinai. These two great Old Testament figures now stand as witnesses of God’s unfolding plan, revealing by their presence that Jesus is the fulfillment of all they had been entrusted to teach in their lifetime.
Moses’ encounter with God on the mountain provided the foundation of the Law for the people of Israel. This Law guided them for centuries and ultimately came to fulfillment in Jesus, Who transformed the Law and elevated it to a new level by grace and mercy. Elijah’s encounter with God on the mountain gave him direction to anoint kings to lead the people and to anoint Elisha as the prophet to succeed him. Elijah and Elisha continually preached to the people, calling them back to fidelity to the covenant God had made with them.
On the Mount of the Transfiguration, Jesus prepared three new disciples to continue the mission He began through Moses and continued through Elijah. Jesus gave these disciples the New Law of grace and mercy that He came to institute. The disciples were also entrusted with the prophetic mission of Elijah to call people to repentance and to fidelity to the covenant.
Today, our Lord calls all of his faithful servants up a spiritual mountain with Him so as to entrust to them the ongoing mission given to these great servants of old. Through prayer, God will manifest His divine presence to each of us if we are willing to make that journey. As He does, He will entrust to us His New Law and inscribe it on our hearts. He will command us to embrace the perfection of the love of God and the bestowal of mercy on others. He will entrust us with the prophetic mission of calling others back to God and will empower us to fulfill that mission in accord with His perfect will.
Reflect, today, upon this glorious scene of the Transfiguration. This image teaches us about the entire plan of God throughout time. Prayerfully ponder the idea that Jesus is inviting you to make the arduous journey up the mountain of prayer, self-discipline, virtue and holiness. Pray that your eyes will be open to see His glory and that this experience will inspire you and strengthen you to continue to fulfill the mission of God started long ago, until it comes to completion when He returns at the end of time.
My Transfigured Lord, You spoke Your divine will to the great leaders of old on a high mountain. You also entrusted Your mission to the disciples on a holy mountain. Please give me the grace and determination I also need to journey with You up the mountain of prayer so that I will be entrusted with the mission You give to me. Jesus, I trust in You.