Second Sunday in Lent – Year A
March 05, 2022 – 10:30 AM
Saint Cecilia Catholic Community, Palm Springs, CA
Deacon Sharon Kay Talley
Genesis 12:1-4a | Psalm 33:4-5;18-20;22
2 Timothy 1:8b-10 | Matthew 17:1-9
+Bless thou, the words of my lips and the meditations of our hearts that they may be of profit to us and acceptable to thee, our rock and redeemer. Amen
Transfiguration Sunday celebrates the glorious revelation of God in Jesus and His manifestation as the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. The actual Transfiguration of Jesus is the event where Jesus becomes radiant in glory upon a mountain in the presence of three of His apostles: Peter, James, and John. They traversed to a mountaintop to pray, during which time Jesus began to shine with bright rays of light. Suddenly, the Old Testament prophets Moses and Elijah appear, and Jesus speaks with them.
Moses and Elijah symbolize the Law and the Prophets. Both of them have eschatological roles or ones relating to the end of humanity. The voice of God the Father is then heard saying, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him.”
On two occasions, human witnesses heard God speak in the Bible, confirming that Jesus was His Son. The first of these occasions was Jesus’ baptism, as recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The second occasion was on the mountain where Jesus was Transfigured, which we read today.
A transfiguration is when something changes in a very notable way, usually from a lowly state into a much greater state. Of the passages that discuss the Transfiguration in the Bible, two of them, Matthew and Mark, use the Koine Greek word “metamorphoo” which means to change from one form into another. From this, we derive the English word “metamorphosis.” This is the word that scientists use to describe the process that turns a caterpillar into a butterfly.
The Transfiguration of Jesus was an absolutely mystical event with no other possible origin than that of God.
Not only is The Transfiguration one of the miraculous events in the life of Jesus in the Gospels, but it is also one of the five major milestones in the life of Jesus on earth; the others being baptism, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. In 2002, Pope John Paul II introduced the Luminous Mysteries in the rosary, which includes The Transfiguration.
The setting of The Transfiguration on the mountain is the meeting place of the temporal and eternal, with Jesus as the connection between heaven and earth. The Transfiguration fulfills the Old Testament prophesy that Elijah would return again after his ascension, as stated in the Book of the Prophet, Malachi, who promised a return of Elijah to hold out hope for repentance and redemption.
In our first reading from Genesis, God promises Abraham, “I will bless you and make your name great.”, but first, Abraham had to leave his homeland and accept the mission of establishing a new homeland as part of his covenant with God.
Obviously, this was not an easy task, but Abraham accepted the challenge and remained steadfast to God.
St. Paul, in our second reading from 2 Timothy, tells us all to “bear your share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God,” meaning we must respond to our call from God and share the Good News with others. It is the grace of God that gives us hope for our future glory.
Mount Tabor is the place where Jesus transfigured before Peter, James, and John. It is also known as the Mount of Transfiguration. Not only has God created this mountain, but He also uses it to symbolize His greatness, strength, and glory.
In the Transfiguration story today, Jesus is revealed as a glorious figure and identified by God the Father as His Son. This story is a Christophany or manifestation of who Jesus really is. In our Eucharist, the offering of bread and wine becomes the Body and Blood of Jesus in the Transubstantiation as the source of our strength and the grace for renewing our lives during Lent. The Holy Eucharist is a source of transformation for us of both our minds and hearts. It helps us to see Jesus in those whom we encounter in our daily lives.
Each Lent calls us to ponder our lives and to engage in some form of Lenten practice. Traditionally, it has meant that we give up doing certain activities during Lent, i.e., refraining from desserts or other sweets, refraining from going out for dinner except on Sunday, not drinking alcohol, etc. But recently, the trend has been to do additional good deeds, i.e., donating to the poor and needy, assisting more in church stewardship, spending more time in prayer, etc.
Hopefully, when Lent is over, and Easter has arrived, we will continue in the transfiguration of who we are and keep doing these things!
Our readings today should challenge us to examine our Lenten practices and our lives. If you have not yet begun your Lenten practices, there is still time to start.
Begin your examination of your chosen practices by asking yourself if they are changing you in a way that you can better follow your call from God. Ask yourself if your practices will have a transfiguring effect on your life; are your practices helping you become more of someone created in the image and likeness of God?
The Transfiguration teaches us that we must work hard and be willing to change our ways and remain faithful to God in order to reach our final glory to be with Jesus forever. Amen