2nd Sunday of Lent: Luke 9:28-36
‘This is my Son, the Chosen One. Listen to him.’ Jesus was confirmed in his identity and his mission on the mountain, the place of the encounter with God.
This took place in the presence of Moses and Elijah, who identified him as the one in whom the promises of the Old Testament are fulfilled, but in an unexpected way, on the Cross. As he prayed, Jesus was transformed and appeared in his glory. Mount Tabor is still a holy place. This is a theophany, God showing himself. Let me linger in memory on moments like this, when I was lifted into intimacy with God, and felt the rapture that goes with intimacy. The disciples were encouraged as they saw Jesus as he really is. Accompanied by Moses and Elijah he was guided by the law and by the prophets.
At all sacramental moments we see those we love in their true dignity as human beings beloved of God. The dreams for this perfect infant at Baptism, the blessing with gifts at Confirmation, the beauty of forgiveness at Reconciliation, the warmth of Communion, the hope for healing at the Sacrament of the Sick, the dignity of covenant-love at Matrimony, the beauty of service at Ordination. Fine clothing sometimes makes us even gasp with admiration. Peter and John and James were privileged to see Jesus in his full dignity. In our journey towards God we experience high moments, spots when we find ourselves on holy ground, and God shows himself. That was the state of St Peter as he witnessed the Transfiguration of Jesus: ‘Lord, let us build here three dwellings, for you, for Moses and for Elijah’.
‘Unless the people have vision, they perish’ (Proverbs 29:18). Jesus here presents to his disciples a saving vision of future glory shortly before his Passion. In our dark times we too need a hope-filled vision of a better future, or else we can perish. We need to know that our fragile but tragic world is charged with hidden glory, which will be revealed in God’s good time.
The Eucharist gives that vision day after day. Across the world it provides an ongoing silent witness to transfiguration, for in it ‘creation is projected to divinisation, and is a source of light and motivation for our concerns for the environment, directing us to be stewards of all creation’ (Laudato Si 236). In the Eucharist I meet the God who is active in transforming the world. This saves me from perishing in despair.