Gospel Reflection

One of the chief characteristics of Jesus’ life is his commitment to prayer. At every key moment from baptism to death,
Jesus shows himself as a man of prayer. As disciples, we,
too, are called to be people of prayer, so this might be a
good moment for us to review our life of prayer.
Like all relationships, our relationship with God takes time
and effort – time to talk, share our lives and get to know him
in all his glory and life-changing power. And just as God
wants us to share our needs, he also asks that we stop and
listen to his word.
With all this in mind, we read today Luke’s account of the
transfiguration. At first glance, it might seem an odd selection for Lent: why not a Gospel on healing or mercy? But
this is no arbitrary choice; it is chosen to encourage and
strengthen us as we undertake our Lenten practices, and
to remind us that through them we hope to share in the
glory of God, glimpsed here in Christ on the mountaintop.
Lenten practices by themselves are meaningless if they do
not have this greater meaning; indeed the whole Lenten
season is without purpose if it does not ultimately lead to
the glory of Easter.
Luke’s account follows the other synoptic Gospels: Jesus
leads his disciples up the mountain to pray. Suddenly, they
are witnesses to something new as the glory of God shines
through his humanity, and the prophets Moses and Elijah
appear in conversation with him. These, too, were mountain
men who in times of struggle sought solace in the high
peaks. There they encountered God and were renewed and
strengthened in their mission.
Glimpsing Jesus’ glory, Peter begins to panic, and as so
often happens in the face of what is new and unsettling, he
falls back onto what is familiar and less threatening. His
suggestion for three tents shows how much he has yet to
learn about Jesus.
But from the cloud that covers the mountain comes the Father’s voice: This is my chosen Son, listen to him. Here is
the true purpose of this theophany, this “God-reveal”: Jesus
is more than just another prophet, he is God’s chosen Son.
Here are words that all must hear and accept if they are to
be transformed and changed.
In the darkness of our sometimes sinful world, we need to
hear these words again. We, too, must be willing to climb
the mountain and to experience the glory of God. We need
to hear again the words of the Father as Jesus is revealed
as the one who speaks on his behalf and is worthy of our
attention and obedience.
This Lent ought to signal a transfiguration in our hearts and
communities. For as Peter said, it is good that we are here,
it is indeed good that we are here today, for it is only when
we are present to the Lord that we can be open to his word
and to the glory he desires to share with us.