Feb 28 2021 Reflection
Sunday 28 February 2021
First Reading: Gn 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
Ps 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19
Second Reading: Rom 8:31b-34
Gospel Reading: Mk 9:2-10
Today’s Note: Second Sunday of Lent
Jesus took Peter, James, and John
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them,
and his clothes became dazzling white,
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses,
and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Rabbi, it is good that we are here!
Let us make three tents:
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them;
from the cloud came a voice,
“This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”
Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone
but Jesus alone with them.
As they were coming down from the mountain,
he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone,
except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
So they kept the matter to themselves,
questioning what rising from the dead meant.
What can blind us or keep us from recognizing God’s glory and presence in our lives? Sin and unbelief for sure! Faith enables us to see what is hidden or unseen to the naked eye. Through the eyes of faith Abraham recognized God and God’s call on his life. He saw from afar not only what God intended for him, but for his descendants as well – an everlasting covenant of friendship and peace with the living God. Abraham is the father of faith because he put his hope in the promises of God. Faith makes us taste in advance the light of God’s glory when we shall see him face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12; 1 John 3:2).
The Lord Jesus reveals his glory in fulfilling his Father’s will
Are you prepared to see God’s glory? God is eager to share his glory with us! We get a glimpse of this when the disciples see Jesus transfigured on the mountain. Jesus’ face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white (Mark 9:2,3).
When Moses met with God on Mount Sinai the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God (see Exodus 34:29). Paul says that the Israelites could not look at Moses’ face because of its brightness (2 Corinthians 3:7). In the Gospel account Jesus appeared in glory with Moses, the great lawgiver of Israel, and with Elijah, the greatest of the prophets, in the presence of three of his beloved apostles – Peter, James, and John.
What is the significance of this mysterious appearance? Jesus went to the mountain knowing full well what awaited him in Jerusalem – his betrayal, rejection and crucifixion. Jesus very likely discussed this momentous decision to go to the cross with Moses and Elijah. God the Father also spoke with Jesus and gave his approval: This is my beloved Son; listen to him. The Father glorified his Son because he obeyed. The cloud which overshadowed Jesus and his apostles fulfilled the dream of the Jews that when the Messiah came the cloud of God’s presence would fill the temple again (see Exodus 16:10, 19:9, 33:9; 1 Kings 8:10; 2 Maccabees 2:8). Jesus is the True Temple come down from heaven who reveals the glory of God to us (John 1:14 and John 2:19, Matthew 12:6), and who opens the way for us to worship the living God in spirit and truth (John 4:21-26).
The Lord wants to share his glory with each of us
The Lord Jesus not only wants us to see his glory – he wants to share this glory with us. And Jesus shows us the way to the Father’s glory: follow me – obey my words – take the path I have chosen for you and you will receive the glory and blessings of my Father’s kingdom – your names will be written in heaven (Luke 10:20).
Jesus succeeded in his mission because he willingly went to Calvary (where he offered up his life for us on the cross), so that Paradise (our true dwelling place with God) would be restored to us once again. He embraced the cross to obtain the crown of glory that awaits each one of us. If we hope to share fully in his glory, we, too, must follow him in the way of the cross – by dying to sin and embracing his will for our lives. This is the only true path that leads to everlasting peace and joy with God.
Origen (185-254 AD), an early church Scripture scholar and writer, describes how we are changed and transformed into Christ’s likeness as we we look to him day by day with faith and honesty and strive to walk according to the light of his truth and righteousness (moral goodness):
“When he is transfigured, his face also shines as the sun that he may be manifested to the children of light who have put off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light, and are no longer the children of darkness or night but have become the sons of day, and walk honestly as in the day. Being manifest, he will shine unto them not simply as the sun, but as demonstrated to be the sun of righteousness.” [Commentary on Matthew 12:37 by Origen]
Stay awake spiritually – Don’t miss God’s glory and action
Luke’s Gospel account tells us that while Jesus was transfigured, Peter, James, and John were asleep (Luke 9:32)! Upon awakening they discovered Jesus in glory along with Moses and Elijah. How much do we miss of God’s glory and action because we are asleep spiritually? There are many things which can keep our minds asleep to the things of God: Mental lethargy and the “unexamined life” can keep us from thinking things through and facing our doubts and questions in the light of Christ’s truth. The life of ease can also hinder us from considering the challenging or disturbing demands of Christ to forsake all for him and his kingdom. Prejudice can make us blind to something new the Lord may have for us. Even sorrow can be a block until we can see past it to the glory of God.
How spiritually awake are you to Christ’s presence and word of life for you? Peter, James, and John were privileged witnesses of the glory of Christ. We, too, as disciples of Christ are called to be witnesses of his glory. We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18). The Lord wants to reveal his glory to us, his beloved disciples. Do you seek his presence with expectant faith, reverence, and willing obedience?
Lord Jesus, keep me always alert and awake to you, to your word, your action, and your daily presence in my life. Let me see your glory.