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Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Second Sunday of Lent - The Transfiguration

The Second Sunday of Lent
The Transfiguration
February 28, 2010
February 24, 2013
February 21, 2016
When Jesus went up the mountain
he was immersed in contemplation
of the loving plan  of the Father,
who had sent him into
the world to save humanity
Pope Benedict XVI

Why did God make us? Those who remember the Baltimore Catechism will quickly respond, “God made us to know, love and serve Him and to be happy with Him forever in heaven .” Our ultimate destination is Heaven.

Every year on the second Sunday of Lent, the Gospel reading is the Transfiguration of our Lord on Mount Tabor (Luke 9:28-36, Mark 9:2-10, Matthew 17:1-9). As a Catholic, we believe that if we remain faithful, what happened to Jesus in the Transfiguration will happen to us one day.  This episode from the life of Christ gives of a foretaste of Christ's glory as well as our own, as He promised that He "will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body." (Philippians 3:21) 

The Transfiguration takes place high on Mount Tabor.  Here Jesus reveals to Peter, James and John his glorfied body clothed in "dazzling white." (Luke 9:29)

Moses and Elijah appear with our Lord signifying that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah).  In this event we also see a resemblance to Moses' encounter with God on Mount Sinai in Exodus 24.

At the Transfiguration Jesus presents Himself as the new Moses. But He will not lead us the way Abraham was promised to lead, to a physical promised land, as in our first reading from Genesis 15:18.  By Jesus' death and resurrection, Jesus leads His Church on a new Exodus, this time freedom from the slavery of sin and death.   His saving act on the cross leads us to a heavenly citizenship, the one Saint Paul describes in our second reading from Philippians.  "Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." (Philippians 3:20)

At the Transfiguration, "a cloud came and cast a shadow over them...from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my chosen Son; listen to him."" (Luke 9:34-35)  God the Father's voice gives His confirmation upon Jesus and instructs Peter, James and John, it instructs all of us, to listen to Jesus and obey him. 

As Christians we have a duel citizenship, so to speak, we are citizens of the world for a time, but our ultimate goal is to be citizens of heaven.  Lent is a time to pray for fortitude to "stand firm" (Philippians 4:1) while we wait.  Wait with confidence that Our Lord will compete the work He has begun in each of us.  Wait for that time when we will be transfigured, such as Our Lord was Transfigured on Mount Tabor.  Wait in joyful hope for the time when our lowly bodies will be conformed to His glorified body and will live for all eternity as citizens of His Heavenly Kingdom.

As we wait, let us follow Jesus back down the mountain to our everyday lives where we continue to pray, listen, obey and follow.

Eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for those who love him. (I Corinthians 2:9)

The Transfiguration of Christ by Bellini

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