The second Sunday of Lent always tells the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus. This glorious “epiphany” stands in contrast to the temptations that we read last Sunday. The temptations highlighted the humanity of Jesus, the Son of Man, who became like us even to the point of being tempted by the devil. The transfiguration reflects his divinity. Jesus is the Son of God who manifests his glory to three of his disciples. His appearance changed as it also did in his glorified body after the resurrection. Mark’s narrative follows the first of the three predictions of Jesus’ Passion, in which Jesus teaches his disciples that he will have to suffer greatly. Placing the story of the Transfiguration after his first Passion prediction reveals that, while Jesus is the Messiah, his triumph will come through his suffering and death.
Peter wants to capture the moment by keeping Jesus, Moses and Elijah there with them. However, Mark does not allow his readers to linger on the mountaintop. Jesus knew, says Mark, that they would have difficulty accepting his suffering and death. Consequently, he tells them not to get too excited about the glory of the transfiguration event until after he has risen from the dead.
Today’s reading offers three significant messages:
- The presence of Moses and Elijah is a sign that Jesus will fulfill the expectations of the Hebrew people.
- The revelation of the glory of God climaxes with a voice from the clouds as in Jesus’ baptism. He is God’s Son and we need to listen to him.
- The goal of the Christian is not just to know “about” God, but to know God through direct experience.
For our personal reflection:
- Do I expect only moments of glory from God? Do I remain faithful when things are not going my way?
- Am I willing to walk with others in their moment of suffering?