This weekend we continue our Lenten journey of mercy as we hear the gospel story of the Apostles going up the mountain were the voice of God reveals Jesus’ true identity: «This is my Son, the Chosen One Listen to him». For many, mountains are a place of encounter with God with Moses encountering God on a mountaintop, so did Elijah, and it was a favorite place of prayer for Jesus too. This particular gospel scene is traditionally considered as Jesus’ transfiguration and is reported in the Synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It’s not possible to reconstruct with certainty the experience that led to this surprising story: we only know that the Gospel writers give it great importance, since it is told as an experience that gives a glimpse of Jesus’ true identity as the Son of God. The splendid vision in our Gospel for this Sunday comes after Jesus had said that “The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised” (Lk 9:22).
This was not the good news that the disciples wanted to hear as they expected Jesus, as the Messiah, to drive out the Roman army of occupation and restore the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6). Many of them would have begun to have second thoughts: Is Jesus really the expected Messiah? The transformation or transfiguration of Jesus that the disciples experienced was not simply something they were to see and experience as happening to him alone. It was also an invitation for them to undergo a transformation and transfiguration of their own. How is that transformation or transfiguration to take place in each of our own lives? We will be transfigured by listening to Jesus, listening to all that he invites us to be and do, however much it may seem to go against the conventions that we were brought up on and the conventions of today. It means especially listening to those words which caused such difficulty for Peter and his companions and integrating them into our own vision of life. In short It means having a total trust in walking his Way, a total trust that only his Way brings us into full union with God, the source of all truth, love, happiness and peace.
We know that Christ “had to suffer and thus enter into his glory.” We also understand the purpose of Christ’s passion was that we, in spite of our own mortality and weakness, might enter into eternal glory through his suffering. So the question for all of us this Sunday is are we prepared to be transfigured this Lent from what we are into Gods new creation remembering that Jesus underwent his Passion so that we might have life and have it to the full.