Second Sunday of Lent, Year C

Posté par diaconos le 9 mars 2022

Seconda domenica di Quaresima dell'anno C   dans articles en Italien

The transfiguration of the Lord Jesus

From the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Luke

At that moment Jesus took Peter, John and James with him and went up the mountain to pray. And as he prayed, the appearance of his face changed and his clothes became dazzling white. Behold, two men spoke with him: they were Moses and Elijah, who had appeared in glory. They spoke of his departure, which was to be accomplished in Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were oppressed with sleep, but when they awoke they saw the glory of Jesus and the two men beside him.

They were moving away from him when Peter said to Jesus: « Master, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah. He did not know what he was saying. Peter had not finished speaking when a cloud came and covered them with its shadow, and they were afraid when they entered it. And from the cloud a voice said: « This is my beloved Son, whom I have chosen: listen to him ! And while the voice was heard, there was Jesus alone. The disciples were silent, and in those days they told no one of what they had seen (Lk 9, 28b-36).

The transfiguation

# The Transfiguration is an episode in the life of Jesus Christ recorded in the New Testament. It involves a change in the bodily appearance of Jesus for a few moments of his earthly life, in order to reveal his divine nature to three disciples. This physical state, considered miraculous, is recorded in the three synoptic gospels: (Mt 17:1-9, Mk 9:2-9, Lk 9:28-36). It is, according to Christianity, the prefiguration of the bodily state announced to believers for their own resurrection. The traditional site of the Transfiguration is Mount Tabor, near Lake Tiberias.

 It was a change in Jesus’ bodily appearance for a few moments of his earthly life, in order to reveal his divine nature to three disciples. This physical state, considered miraculous, is reported in the three synoptic gospels: (Mt 17:1-9, Mk 9:2-9, Lk 9:28-36). It is, according to Christianity, the prefiguration of the bodily state announced to believers for their own resurrection. The traditional site of the Transfiguration is Mount Tabor, near Lake Tiberias.

Some exegetes place the event on Mount Hermon, since the Gospel episodes that frame it are set in that region. For the Maronites, the Transfiguration took place in the region of Bcharré, on Mount Lebanon. For the Catholic Church, the immediate purpose of the Transfiguration was to prepare the disciples’ hearts to overcome the scandal of the cross. This Transfiguration is also a proclamation of the « wonderful adoption that will make all believers children of God ». The Orthodox Church also celebrates the Transfiguration. In the Church of Ethiopia, the feast is called Buhe.

Let us contemplate the scene in which Peter, James and John were in ecstasy before the beauty of the Redeemer : « And he was transfigured before them. His clothes became resplendent » (Mk 9:2-3). For our part, we can see a message in what St Paul assured his disciple Timothy :  »He has destroyed death and made life and immortality shine through the Gospel » (2 Tim 1, 10).

It is precisely this that we contemplate with wonder, like the three apostles chosen at that moment. It does us good to welcome that glow of sunshine and light that was reflected in the face and clothes of Jesus. They formed a marvellous icon of redeemed humanity, for there was no longer the ugliness of sin, but the beauty that divinity transmitted to our flesh. Peter’s happiness was that which we feel when we allow ourselves to be invaded by divine grace.

 The Holy Spirit also transfigured the senses of the apostles and it was thus that they saw the divine glory of Jesus. Their eyes were transfigured to better see what was radiating, their ears were transfigured to better hear the sublime and real voice of the Father who delights in his Son. It is all a little too surprising for us, accustomed as we are to the greyness of mediocrity. Only if we allow ourselves to be touched by Christ will our senses be able to see and hear what is most beautiful and joyful in God and in those who have been raised to holiness by the One who rose from the dead.

John Paul II wrote: « Christian spirituality has as its characteristic the duty of the disciple to be entirely configured to his Master. We place in the hands of the Virgin Mary the goal of achieving our transfiguration in her Son Jesus Christ. The cloud from which the Father’s voice comes echoes the cloud that enveloped the Hebrews during the Exodus and their journey through the desert.

St Peter’s proposal to erect three tents also refers, according to some observers, to the tent of meeting in the Old Testament. This transfiguration is also an announcement of the « wonderful adoption that will make all believers children of God ». His Transfiguration is not an anticipation of the Resurrection – in which his body will be transformed into God – but rather the presence of the Triune God and all of salvation history in his predestined body on the cross ».

Light of Christ

When someone smiles at us, their face changes. It is beautiful to see! How can we not enjoy making others smile? A complicity is then established, a communion, free and true, it gives a glimpse of happiness. Jesus is transfigured and the disciples, Peter, James and John, see Jesus: his inner light, his infinite love, never ceases to flow from his heart… His body is radiant. Jesus, on the mountain, was not illuminated from outside by a light, it was he, in his body, who was Light.

 What was this light ? It is the mystery of Jesus himself. Elijah and Moses appear in the light. Are they there to confirm to the apostles the person and work of Jesus? The extraordinary light of Christ and the presence of the highest figures in the history of Israel give the disciples a prodigious happiness. We understand Peter’s exclamation :  »Rabbi, it is good that we are here ». They want to build three tents… A prodigious joy in the face of God’s plan that now finds its fulfilment. (Mk 9, 5)

The transfiguration of the Lord is part of the Good News. When love reigns, it transfigures people. Love drawn from God satisfies and stimulates. It makes people see everything differently, but without love, or when passion takes over, people quickly become dominated by jealousy, greed and chronic dissatisfaction. Passion hardens, blinds and blurs the gaze. A gaze that becomes offensive and humiliating, a gaze that destroys !

 The Holy Spirit also transfigured the senses of the apostles and it was thus that they saw the divine glory of Jesus. Their eyes were transfigured to better see what was radiating, their ears were transfigured to better hear the sublime and real voice of the Father who delights in his Son. It is all a little too surprising for us, accustomed as we are to the greyness of mediocrity. Only if we allow ourselves to be touched by Christ will our senses be able to see and hear what is most beautiful and joyful in God and in those who have been raised to holiness by the One who rose from the dead.

John Paul II wrote : « Christian spirituality has as its characteristic the duty of the disciple to be entirely configured to his Master. We place in the hands of the Virgin Mary the goal of achieving our transfiguration in her Son Jesus Christ. The cloud from which the Father’s voice comes echoes the cloud that enveloped the Hebrews during the Exodus and their journey through the desert. »

 St Peter’s proposal to erect three tents also refers, according to some observers, to the tent of meeting in the Old Testament. This transfiguration is also an announcement of the « wonderful adoption that will make all believers children of God ». La sua Trasfigurazione non è un’anticipazione della Resurrezione – in cui il suo corpo sarà trasformato in Dio – ma piuttosto la presenza del Dio Trino e di tutta la storia della salvezza nel suo corpo predestinato sulla croce ».

Contempliamo la scena in cui Pietro, Giacomo e Giovanni erano in estasi davanti alla bellezza del Redentore: « Ed egli fu trasfigurato davanti a loro. Le sue vesti divennero splendenti » (Mc 9,2-3). For our part, we can see a message in what St Paul assured his disciple Timothy: « He has destroyed death and made life and immortality shine through the Gospel » (2 Tim 1:10).

It is precisely this that we contemplate with wonder, like the three apostles chosen at that moment. It does us good to welcome that glow of sunshine and light that was reflected in the face and clothes of Jesus. They formed a marvellous icon of redeemed humanity, for there was no longer the ugliness of sin, but the beauty that divinity transmitted to our flesh. Peter’s happiness was that which we feel when we allow ourselves to be invaded by divine grace.

Deacon Michel Houyoux

Links to other christini websites

◊  The Emmaus Series : click here to read the paper →2nd Sunday of Lent Year C

◊   The Augustinians  : click here to read the paper → Second Sunday of Lent – Year C

♥ The transfiguration of the Lord Jesus

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