The 2nd Sunday of Lent Mk 9:2-10
Father George Rutler “The Church walks with Christ for forty days in Lent, with the light of Heaven in memory and the shadow of the Cross in prospect.”
Churches dedicated to Our Saviour traditionally celebrate the Transfiguration on August 6 as their annual parish feast. The catastrophic earthquake in Japan recalls the force of the bomb there on the Feast of the Transfiguration in 1945 when the atomic scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer quoted Vishnu: “Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” A different kind of power radiated from the transfigured Christ: “God from God, Light from Light.” The Church enters this radiance in every sacrament, and retells the mystery in the Gospel proclamation for the Second Sunday of Lent.
In the Transfiguration, Moses the Lawgiver and Elijah the Prophet flank Christ. Representing the life of the intellect – practical and prophetic, social and scientific – they worship Him as their source and inspiration. “The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world” (John 1: 9). A man whose mind is without God is out of his mind. Memory of that kept St. Peter sane the rest of his life: “And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount” (2 Peter 1:18).
As a child, I enjoyed the early television puppet show, “Kukla, Fran and Ollie,” so different from the TV fare in our present coarsened culture. As the best childrens entertainments are aimed at adults through the children, the puppets’ fans included John Steinbeck, James Thurber, Adlai Stevenson and Orson Welles. One day the absent-minded witch Beulah threw down her broom and announced that she was abandoning magic to embrace the wonderful world of empiricism. That is a good thing to do, but empiricism, or knowledge from sensory experience, is not wonderful if it does not connect mental brilliance with the “Light from Light.” The wrong use of the intellect leads to death, not life.