Cycle C 2nd Sunday in Lent.
Gen 15:5-12, 17-18; Phil 3:17-4:1; Luke 9:28-36.
Transfiguration of Jesus
The world is full of manifestations of God’s glory. Every morning, from the depth of darkness rises the sun, transforming the sleeping, inactive and dull earth into a vibrant planet teaming with life and activity. The light and warmth emitted from the rays of the sun enlivens every blade of grass and burst open every bud longing to blossom. This transformation of nature has been a mystery wondered at by poets, pondered over by philosophers and absorbed by the artists.
Today the Gospel presents before us the scene of the transfiguration of Jesus. Jesus was seen with two great prophets of Jewish tradition- Moses and Elijah. Moses represents the Jewish law and Elijah represents Jewish prophecy. And Jesus is shown as the possessor of the new law and the new prophecy.
The Jewish leadership had rejected Jesus, in spite of his unquestionable teaching and unimaginable miracles. Majority of the Jews held him in high esteem, but not comprehended the divinity of Jesus. The disciples could not understand the implications of Jesus’ teaching. In this background Luke highlights several prominent features of this event.
Luke says that the outward glory of Jesus was momentarily displayed. To the disciples who were constantly discouraged by the rejection met with Jesus, it was a source of strength.
Many a time Jesus was challenged to manifest His glory. When he was tempted by Satan, Satan challenged Him to manifest His glory by jumping from the pinnacle. His listeners challenged Him to manifest His splendour. The Jewish leaders challenged Him to reveal His majesty. But on this one occasion the veil of His humanity was momentarily lifted and His divine splendour and glory burst forth.
The momentary sight of Jesus’ glory on the mount filled Peter with enthusiasm and he declared instinctively “It is wonderful to be here.” Peter realized that it is always wonderful to be in the presence of God. Peter never wanted to lose this great event. So he said; “we shall build three tents. One for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” Peter wanted to be with them in their glorious state forever.
All the people who have experienced God’s divine touch testify that it is wonderful to be with Him. Throughout the psalms the psalmist expresses his love for the House of the Lord. “I was glad when they said to me Let’s go to the house of the Lord.”
Joseph A. Robinson wrote the following lines describing the experience of transfiguration:
How good, Lord, to be here!
Your glory fills the night;
Your face and garments, like the sun,
Shine with unborrowed light.
How good, Lord, to be here,
Your beauty to behold
Where Moses and Elijah stand,
Your messengers of old.
In the year AD 302, Diocletian, emperor of Rome, issued an edict that every Christian soldier in the army should be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Pagan gods. But one of his soldiers, George objected and with the courage of his faith. George loudly renounced the Emperor's edict, and in front of his fellow soldiers and Tribunes he claimed himself to be a Christian and declared his worship of Jesus Christ. Diocletian attempted to convert George, even offering gifts of land, money and slaves, but George never accepted. Recognizing the futility of his efforts, Diocletian was left with no choice but to have him executed for his refusal. This is the story of St George, who found life in Jess more wonderful than anything else in this world.
As Jesus took Peter, James and John to the top of the mountain today He takes us to the church where we have the glorious presence of Jesus. When we are able to spend some time in the silence of the church before the tabernacle, we will feel that it is wonderful to be here. Like the psalmist we will feel that being in the house of God will fill us with serenity.
The Three apostles were out of themselves with joy when they were granted to have a glimpse of Jesus’ glory. When you are in the house of God,
“Your hearts will be full of joy
And that joy no one shall take from you” (Jn 16:22)