The first reading describes the transformation of Abram, a pagan patriarch, into a believer in the one God (Who would later “transform” Abram’s name to Abraham), and the first covenant of God with Abraham’s family as a reward for Abraham’s Faith and obedience to God. The Responsorial Psalm (Ps 27) declares that Faith, singing, “I believe that I shall see the bounty of the Lord in the land of the living.” In the second reading, St. Paul argues that it is not observance of the Mosaic Law and circumcision that transforms people into Christians, and hence, that Gentiles need not become Jews to become Christians. St. Paul urges us to stand firm in our Faith and to live a life of discipleship with Jesus now, so that we may share in a glorious future later.
In the Transfiguration account in today’s Gospel, Jesus is revealed as a glorious figure, superior to Moses and Elijah. The primary purpose of Jesus’ Transfiguration was to allow Him to consult his Heavenly Father to ascertain His plan for His Son’s suffering, death, and Resurrection. The secondary aim was to make Jesus’ chosen disciples aware of his Divine glory, so that they might discard their worldly ambitions and dreams of a conquering political Messiah and might be strengthened in their time of trial. On the mountain, Jesus is identified by the Heavenly Voice as the Son of God. Thus, the Transfiguration experience is a Christophany, that is, a manifestation or revelation of Who Jesus really is. Describing Jesus’ Transfiguration, the Gospel gives us a glimpse of the Heavenly glory awaiting those who do God’s will by putting their trusting Faith in Him.
The Holy Spirit, through the Church, invites us to reflect on Christ’s humanity by presenting the temptations of Christ on the first Sunday of Lent, But, on the second Sunday, by presenting the Transfiguration scene, the Church invites us to reflect on Christ’s Divinity. The Transfiguration of Our Lord, like Christmas, is a Christological Feast. In the Incarnation, the Divine enters the human condition. In the Transfiguration, the human shares in Divine glory. The Transfiguration of Our Lord on this Second Sunday in Lent gives those at worship a glimpse of the coming future glory of Christ on Easter. But it also reminds us that the only way to Easter is through the cross. In both the Transfiguration and the Gethsemane experiences, it is clear that the events are pointing to the Cross ahead, the way of suffering. Is it possible that we “miss” mountaintop experiences because we are not open to accepting the way of the cross that might be in our present or future? Jesus taught us to pray to our Father in heaven, “Not my will but thine be done.” As with Abraham and Jesus, prayerful listening is our own ‘mountain’ into the divine presence. Jesus always prays before the decisive moments and events in his life and mission, as well as before decisive moments involving his disciples. Can we imitate his trusting and humble commitment to his father’s will?
In moments of doubt and during our dark moments of despair and hopelessness, the thought of our transfiguration in Heaven will help us to reach out to God and to listen to His consoling words: “This is My beloved Son.” Let us offer our Lenten sacrifices to our Lord, that through these practices of Lent and through the acceptance of our daily crosses we may grow closer to him in his suffering and may share in the carrying of his cross so that we may finally share the glory of his Transfiguration.