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2/18/2016 11:04:00 AM
Lent is our Transfiguration

Mary Jo Tully
Chancellor, Archdiocese of Portland

February 21, 2016 Second Sunday of Lent

Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18

Philippians 3:17—4:1

Luke 9:28b-36

Most of us see the story of the Transfiguration from the perspective of Jesus who stood on the threshold of his passion and now stood in the glow of his Father’s approval. Certainly, it was an important event for Jesus who was about to set out for Jerusalem. He would never take such an important step without the Father’s approval. But since most of us are more like Jesus’ disciples than we are like him, it is helpful to look at this narrative from the perspective of Jesus’ followers. 

Peter, James and John were very much like us.  As followers of Jesus, they were troubled by what had become the central event in their lives: Jesus’ prediction of his passion. Immediately after Peter had proclaimed his faith in Jesus, the Lord warned his disciples that he must suffer many things, be rejected by the elders, chief priests and scribes, be killed and then raised on the third day. How confused Jesus’ followers must have been!  The choice to bring his followers with him was no accident. Jesus clearly knew that they needed time with Jesus to put this troubling news into perspective, to learn that Jesus’ death would change their lives.

Jesus had brought his followers to a mountain to pray. As they climbed that mountain, they separated themselves from their cares and concerns. They even forgot what troubled them most—that Jesus was going to suffer.  When they reached the end of their journey, their vision of Jesus changed. They saw him in all his glory. Jesus was transfigured before their eyes. It was important to them that Moses and Elijah were there. Moses represented the Law and Elijah the prophets. Until now, the Law and the prophets were the most important religious realities in their lives. Jesus’ transfiguration represented a radical change in their perspective.

This is what we seek during this Lenten time—a radical change that enables us to look at our lives through the eyes of God.

Consider Lent a desert or call it a mountain; it does not matter.  It is a journey that allows us to walk with Jesus, who is Lord.  This is the experience that changes lives, calls us to repentance, and fills us with joy.  It is the experience that helps us to make sense of the cross and the passion, to make sense of our lives.

Most of us do not want to leave the mountain any more than the disciples did. We would like to erect our spiritual tents in the midst of this moment but that cannot be. We move to the altar renewed and enlightened, so that we can move to the world with a new conviction that Jesus, indeed, is Lord.






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