On the second Sunday of Lent each year, the Gospel is always about the Transfiguration of Jesus, of which we have several accounts in the Gospels. Today’s version is from St.Matthew. Once again, we hear Jesus inviting Peter, James, and John to climb a mountain, and join him in prayer. Upon reaching the summit, Jesus, and his friends enter into moments of Prayer. This seems to mean that they would have been close in proximity to Jesus, which seemed to be quite a familiar scene for the apostles who accompanied him in prayerful moments. This time, however, something different happened; a veil was lifted, and they got a glimpse of the divinity of Jesus, and a clarification of the Mission entrusted to him from his Father. Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus, and they were held in conversation. Peter, as usual, was right there with a suggestion: This scene is so beautiful, that he wanted to build some kind of accommodation, so Jesus, Moses and Elijah could live there, and the experienced be contained. However, Moses and Elijah soon disappeared. Seemingly, within the midst of some sort of misty, white cloud, they heard the Father’s voice announcing ‘this is my Son, the Chosen One. My favour rests on him, Listen to him’. Everything then returned to normal, and the apostles kept the event a secret for a long time after it happened. Could they return to normal? Not really. The Apostles were also changed. However, what effect did that special event have on their minds and understanding of Jesus, and of the Mission entrusted to him by His Father? What can we learn from this event?
In the Scriptures, there are many references in the Old and New Testament, about the significance of Revelations on top of mountains. Some of these special occasions would most certainly be the encounter that Moses had with The Lord God (Adonai) YHWH on Mt.Sinai. This was the place where the Lord God initiated a Marriage Covenant with his people, and gave them the Ten Commandments or Decalogue (Ten Words) as a guide for their faithfulness. Remember Mt.Nebo? The place where Moses and the chosen people viewed the Promised Land…it was the Mountain where the promises made by the Lord God were fulfilled; before them lay the Promised Land. Then there is, Mt.Calvary, the place of the Lord’s Cross; so closely linked to Mt.Tabor, the Mountain in today’s Gospel.
Mountains are places of revelation, they are places of deepened insight; it’s where we can come to that special stillness, within a prayer-filled moment, which has of its essence, the power to CHANGE US! It is that kind of experience which we, like the Apostles, would like to have ‘captured’, so that its influence would continue, and never be lost. I am sure that there have been times of ‘stillness’ in our own lives, when the feeling and sense of ‘at-one-ness’ with God, and those around us, enable us to know deep in our being, that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and that we are not alone. Moments like that, we too want to capture and freeze! These precious moments can give us real glimpses of hope and understanding. We do not need to climb mountains physically to experience this, but every now and then it does happen, if we allow ourselves to hear what is being said to us in the stillness of the moment; in that special place and moment, which is our personal mountain top. Do you have a special place, a ‘sacred’ space in your home? Food for thought, eh?
Hopefully, this second week of Lent will encourage us to see once again, the need and time for ‘prayer’ in our lives, and to satisfy our hunger for the Scriptures to nourish us. The biggest challenge is finding the time and space to do it! It is only when we, STOP and LOOK, can we really LISTEN and see the saving hand of God in our lives, and in the lives of our community? These silent moments, can enable us to be changed – transfigured by hearing the words in our hearts, that we are in fact the “Beloved” of God. This understanding causes us to reverence, respect, forgive and love each other in a renewed way.