March 5, 2023: Second Sunday of Lent
Gospel: Matthew 17:1-9
Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John, 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 what 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.”
Every year on the Second Sunday of Lent, we hear a Gospel proclamation of the Transfiguration. Some look upon the transfiguration as a precursor of Jesus’ resurrection. The disciples catch a glimpse of his glorified body and through this revelation are encouraged to continue on the path as faithful followers of the Lord. They will need this reminder when the life of discipleship gets challenging. It’s no wonder they wanted to hold on to the experience rather than leave the mountain and return to the real world.
Why Moses and Elijah? Simply put, Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law (represented in Moses) and the Prophets (represented in Elijah). In him, we have all that we need to live according to God’s will. By his very life, as much as by his words, Jesus prophetically proclaims the fullness of the law, LOVE! The greatest of all the laws is love, he said. And what does love look like? The sick are healed; the imprisoned are visited; the hungry are fed; the despised are embraced, etc. The blueprint for the Christian life can be found in the Sermon on the Mount, which begins with the Beatitudes (Matthew Chapters 5-7).
We are barely into Lent. It’s not too late to consider the three pillars of this season and enter into Lent more deliberately through PRAYER, FASTING and ALMSGIVING. Make a commitment and choose some practices that will intensify your life as a Christian disciple.
I believe more time in prayer is essential to the season of Lent. For me, fasting and almsgiving can intersect. For an example, fasting from some favorite way I spend my free time is devoted to others, visiting people confined to their homes or care centers. Almsgiving typically suggests giving money; however, it is a catch-all for giving of our time, talent and/or treasure.