8 March 2009 2nd Sunday of Lent
Gen 22, 1-18; Psalm 116; Rom 8, 31-34; Mark 9, 2-10
The Transfiguration is the revelation of Christ’s glory on Mt. Tabor in Galilee. Jesus appeared dazzling in His glory, as a manifestation of His true divinity. For Peter, James and John, it was a taste of heaven and of the resurrected bodies promised for all Christians. As Christ transfigured, Moses, who represented Old Testament Law and Elijah, who represented the Prophets, appeared with Jesus and conversed with Him. This tells us that Jesus is the fulfillment of all the Law and the Prophets.
The Transfiguration then should console us. Peter himself wants to capture the moment and to linger with Moses, Elijah and Jesus. But the moment is brief, momentary and partial. Mark does not want his readers to take too long on the mountaintop. He brings the readers down from the mountain. Thus, this mountain moment is a refreshing break; and it ends so soon. Mark is therefore clear with the point of the Transfiguration: glimpses of glory that Christians receive from the Lord are real and true, but they are given so that we might be able to move and follow Jesus alone including His suffering and death.
There are glimpses of glory that God gives us. We get a taste of success in little forms like a perfect score in an exam, a medal from a competition, a college degree. We get a brief look at a model house so that we can work for it. We get a glance at the lifestyle of a celebrity or a victorious contestant of a game show. We get to read about a prosperous business and experience working with the company as an apprentice. We get to be emotionally high when we spend a few hours with a very special someone, that we yearn to live the rest of our lives with him or her. We get to be spiritually euphoric after a retreat or an uplifting activity that we are intoxicated for anything like it, like a recollection, a prayer meeting or an experience of community and fellowship. We get to see and taste these things so that we could yearn, desire and work for them. And endure the necessary demands that they entail. With these glimpses in mind, we set out courageously and pursue our dreams.
In 1984, there was a play called, “Manlalakbay” (The Pilgrim). It was the story of a boy who saw a star. Taking with him the cloak made by his mother, he embarked on a journey towards the place of the star. On the road, he met a friend who also saw a star. He was so happy that he found a companion; the journey wouldn’t be lonely after all. However, their pilgrimage was not without difficulty. Every challenge demanded that they gave up something that they had. As they approached the end of their journey, the boy had to hand over the most difficult: the cloak from his mother. He thought that that was the last thing to relinquish. At the gate of the star was the final demand: to give up even his best friend. There they discovered that they saw a different star and they had to part.
Will you give up the most precious thing or person in your life for your most coveted dream? In the first reading, we saw Abraham offering Isaac in his test of loyalty. In the Gospel, we saw God himself offering His only Son for our salvation. And in addition, we read about Jesus predicting His suffering and death: will He relinquish His life for us all? We know that He did.
Mark said that the glimpses of glory was to inspire us to know, to love and to follow Christ closely and Him alone. Would you give your life for Christ? St. Ignatius asks three questions for prayer: First, what have I done for Christ? Second, what am I doing for Christ? And finally, what ought I to do for Christ?