Second Sunday of Lent
Lk 9:28b-36
March 13, 2022

The importance of today’s Gospel is evident from the fact that the mountaintop experience is reported (with only slightly varying details) by all four Gospel authors. Appreciating the significance of the Transfiguration, the Church gives us one of the versions to reflect on every Second Sunday of Lent.

Further highlighting the enormous value of this episode in the life of Jesus Christ, Pope John Paul II included it as one of the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. In this way, we are encouraged through our prayer to delve more deeply into the meaning and significance of the mysterious event.

Scripture scholars and theologians have done that by writing extensively on this meeting between heaven and earth. Because of the multiple facets to reflect on and learn from, this is an extremely challenging passage to break open and share in any meaningful or exhaustive way, especially in a brief Sunday reflection. This year, I drew inspiration from a torn, wrinkled, and faded piece of paper that has been on the back corner of my desk for many years.

Intrigued by the profound thought I read in some long-forgotten book, I wrote it down on a piece of paper. I frequently look over at it and am re-inspired. Unfortunately, I cannot give the author credit because I neglected to note the name of the source. For this, I apologize. Still, whoever wrote these words would likely approve of me passing them on so that others can be inspired.

“God wanted to meet us where we are as a human being, not just a flaming bush, or pillar of fire, or mysterious cloud, but as one like us, sharing our joys and hopes and dreams, but also our sorrows.”

I read this bit of wisdom to mean that God wanted to meet us “face to face” and so God sent Jesus into the world…FULLY HUMAN. But we know that Jesus was also FULLY DIVINE.

As Luke reports it, the TRANSFIGURATION began with the change in the Lord’s face. The Glory of God transfigured The Lord’s face, revealing the HUMANITY of Jesus of Nazareth and the DIVINITY of Jesus the Christ.

The three witnesses to this “revelation event” were unable to comprehend the significance of what happened on the mountaintop, in spite of The Voice from heaven. It was simply too much for them to wrap their minds around. However, the memory of Jesus Christ’s glorification that day must have come rushing back to them after Easter morning, helping them to better understand Resurrection…what it means to be raised from the dead.

With all that has been written and said about the Transfiguration of The Lord, at its core, it is simply a preview of Easter Glory. This brief glimpse of The Eternal Christ most certainly helped transform the apostles and disciples into an Easter people. The Church wisely offers us the opportunity to reflect on and to be inspired by that day so that we are better able to comprehend what it is that awaits us at the end of the Lenten season.

Like Peter, James, and John, it takes time and effort on our part to transform from being followers of The Teacher into a believing and rejoicing Easter people. It takes time to wrap our minds around the hope that if we do our best to transform ourselves through prayer, fasting, and charity…when we are called out of our earthly bodies, we will experience the fullness of Transubstantiation. We will share in Christ’s glory.

God wanted to see us face to face in this world…so that we might look at God face to face in the next world…and on that day, our faces will shine like the Son’s.

So, as we make our way back down the mountain to the Monday morning of the Second week of Lent, let’s show our best face to our God, and to one another, through the transforming practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.