Reflection on the Daily Readings for 3/08/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Second Sunday of Lent (B). Genesis 22:1-22.214.171.124.15-18. Psalm
116:10.15.16-17.18-19. Romans 8:31-34. Mark 9:2-10. Lectionary # 26:
Transformation into Christ is an essential part of being a Christian.
Paul, the earliest writer of the New Testament, confirms this with his
statement: “For me to live is Christ.” (Philippians 1:21). The scene from
the Gospel of St. Mark is a revelatory text that calls us to this
conformity with Christ. It is so important that all three of the Synoptic
Gospels gives us a narrative describing Jesus’ “transfiguration” on a
mountain while three of his disciples experience this theophany. They are
Peter, James, and John. These three will also be with Jesus when he suffers
his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane thus showing that both the joy of his
transfiguration and the sorrow of what he knows will happen to him involves
them. They are called to be one with him all they way through thick and
thin, through good times and difficult times.
Lent reminds us that we are to meditate on the Paschal Mysteries of
Christ, his passion or sufferings, his death, and his resurrection. The
Transfiguration helps us to understand these sorrowful mysteries that lead
to the resurrection just as the three apostles-disciples were given
confirmation about who Jesus is. The Transfiguration is linked to Jesus’
baptism where the Father proclaims Jesus as his beloved Son. It thus points
back to that moment just before his active ministry. The Transfiguration
also points forward to the Resurrection when Jesus will rise from the dead.
Paschal Mysteries are thus linked with Revelatory Mysteries and help us to
understand what the Epistle to the Hebrews says about Jesus: “Jesus Christ
is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.” (Hebrews 13:8). The Book of
Revelation tells us that Jesus is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and
the Omega. The One who is, who was and who will be forever. The
Resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God, is the capstone for helping us
through faith and through our meditation to understand Jesus both as the
Son of God (his divinity) and the Son of Man (his humanity). Meditation
can lead to contemplation and then to our being transformed into Christ.
Pope John Paul II added five mysteries to the devotion of the rosary.
These are called the luminous mysteries or those that enlighten us and help
us to follow the active ministry of Jesus. They are stepping stones to our
conformity with Christ. Thus we find such a revelatory call in Jesus’
Baptism, his marvelous sign at Cana, his proclamation of the Kingdom of God
among us, his Transfiguration, and finally the fifth mystery, the Eucharist
of the last supper. These five mysteries are found in the Scriptures and
they help us to be conformed to Jesus our Revealer and our Redeemer.
The Transfiguration is not only a myster of light and revelation; it
is also one of joy and hope for us. The apostles needed such an experience
of Jesus as the fulfillment of the prophets (Elijah) and the covenant and
laws of God (Moses). This helps us to understand the sufferings and joys of
being united to Christ during this season of Lent and all the seasons of
life. God grants us many graces and favors through these holy mysteries.
Father Roland Faley says, “God’s favor and grace do not eliminate
suffering. So often pain is woven inextricably into the fabric of love. If
God’s favor led Jesus to the cross, the trying of our faith in the crucible
of hardship in no way diminishes God’s love for us.” Amen.(Footprints on
the Mountain, page 227).,