Second Sunday in Lent, Year A

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt as though you needed all the support you could get? An extremely dire, dreadful situation which you had to face and which you could not avoid because you knew it needed to be done? In this Sunday’s gospel reading we a given this wonderful vision of the Transfiguration of our Lord, the beauty and glory of God revealed here on earth. Ah, magnificent! But what was Jesus doing with his disciples before this? He was telling them that he was going to Jerusalem to suffer horribly at the hands of the community and die by their hand. Peter tries to convince Jesus not to do it, but Jesus’ response is, “get behind me Satan!” Grim as it were, painful as it is, Jesus knew that he had to do this out of love for us. He had to lay down his life as a sacrifice so that we may be reconciled with God.

Think of painful decisions which we may at times need to make in life in order for greater good to occur. Seen in this light, the beauty of the Transfiguration, the glory of God revealed, takes on a bittersweet flavour. Jesus has the glorious love and support of his heavenly Father and the prophets that came before him, yet the trial that he would undergo would be extreme and agonising even to the extent of feeling abandonment on the cross. Jesus doesn’t want to go and be tortured and killed, but in obedience and love he moves forward, he goes up the mountain.

Have you ever climbed a mountain? It is hard work but it forms you. As you go up, you learn more about your limits and who you are. Think of the followers of Jesus. They have just heard that their leader is going to be tortured and killed, and they’ve been agonising over this the past few days, the sum of all their worries and fears. Now they go up the mountain with Jesus to be with God, carrying all their pain with them. And what happens? They too are consoled and reassured by the experience of the God’s glory. “Lord it is wonderful for us to be here.” As they are consoled by the Transfiguration, they are also made acutely aware of God’s overwhelming presence. They learn that it is God whom they should fear, not man.

What difficulty do I face today? What is something that I dread and fear but know I must face in order to grow and transform into a better person? Dare I climb that mountain to be with God in prayer so that God is present with me, that I may face my cross with Him? Wherever you may find yourself, whatever your cross may be, will you dare to seek God’s consolation? Climbing the mountain to pray with Jesus does not take away problems, but it does change the way we encounter them. We are not alone, we are with God. With God, my problems can be areas where I grow and mature because my problems are placed in the context of my relationship with Jesus who loves me.

Lord, let me see your perspective on life, draw me closer in your love, that I may worthily bear with you the challenges that come.

Fr William Loh, O.P. Chaplain for Monash University.