Peter’s Response

This coming Sunday is the 2nd Sunday of Lent in Lectionary Cycle C taken from the Gospel of Luke 9:28-32 describing the Transfiguration of Jesus.

Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But he did not know what he was saying.” (vv.32-33) Continue reading

Moses and Elijah

This coming Sunday is the 2nd Sunday of Lent in Lectionary Cycle C taken from the Gospel of Luke 9:28-32 describing the Transfiguration of Jesus:  And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.” (vv.30-31)

The presence of Elijah and Moses has been much discussed by various scholars. (1) Do they represent the different kinds of life endings (burial versus being taken up to God)? (2) Is their presence an indication of endorsement by great prophets and wonderworkers of old? (3) Is Jesus the fulfillment of the law (Moses) and the prophets (Elijah) – and so listen to him? (4) Or is it that Moses points to the expected great-prophet-like Moses, while Elijah suggests the eschaton’s (end days) arrival – roles fulfilled in Jesus. Continue reading

The Transfiguration

This coming Sunday is the 2nd Sunday of Lent in Lectionary Cycle C taken from the Gospel of Luke 9:28-32 describing the Transfiguration of Jesus. While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white.” (v.29)

Both Matthew and Mark starkly report: “And he was transfigured (metamorphōthē) before them.” The underlying Greek word means to “transform, change completely.” Luke uses the more mundane heteron (change) and limits the description to his face. All the accounts agree that the clothing became a brilliant white; Luke using the word that sometimes describes the white flash of lightning. Continue reading

Praying on the Mountain

This coming Sunday is the 2nd Sunday of Lent in Lectionary Cycle C taken from the Gospel of Luke 9:28-32 describing the Transfiguration of Jesus: About eight days after he said this, he took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray.” (v.28)

Characteristically Luke tells us that Jesus went to the mountain to pray. This is a key motif in the Lucan narrative. In the gospel and in Acts, Luke continually points to people achieving the proper attitude and posture before God through the discipline of prayer which Luke repeatedly highlights. He has several principal ways of doing this: Continue reading

To the mountain top

This coming Sunday is the 2nd Sunday of Lent in Lectionary Cycle C taken from the Gospel of Luke 9:28-32 describing the Transfiguration of Jesus. The Transfiguration event is also described in Mt 17:1-9 and Mk 9:2-10 – readings that are traditionally proclaimed on the 2nd Sunday of Lent in their own respective liturgical years as well as on the Feast of the Transfiguration each August 6th.

The Lenten use of the reading, following the story of Jesus being tempted in the desert by the devil, breaks up the flow of Luke narrative.  Perhaps a summary of what has transpired since the 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time can bring us into context: Continue reading

Both-And

Did you know that our Christian brothers and sisters proclaim the gospel of the Transfiguration on the Sunday before Lent while we hear it this 2nd Sunday of Lent? For them it is the end of the liturgical season of Epiphany that starts with the first revelation of the Christ child to the world and end with the account of the divine glory of God being revealed in the person of Jesus. There is a lovely symmetry to that. On the first Sunday in Lent, both traditions proclaim Jesus’ temptation in the desert – and with the exception of this Sunday, both traditions proclaim the same Gospels for the remainder of Lent.

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On the high mountain

Tomorrow is the 2nd Sunday of Lent in Year B. It is an account of the Transfiguration as told by St. Mark. You can read a full commentary on the Gospel here.

2 After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3 and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. 4 Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. 5 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.” 6 He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. 7 Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; then from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” 8 Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them. 9 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. 10 So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant.

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On the high mountain

Next Sunday is the 2nd Sunday in Lent, Year A. You can read a complete commentary on the Sunday Gospel here.

1 After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.  2 And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.  3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him.  4 Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”  5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”  6 When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid.  7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.”  8 And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone.  9 As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, “Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” Continue reading

Fuel for courage

This is the 2nd Sunday of Lent and each year on this day our gospel is taken from one of the accounts of the Transfiguration – this year we take it from Luke. It is the same gospel we hear every August 6th on the Feast of the Transfiguration. This year I began to wonder why we proclaim this gospel on this Sunday. Last week, proclaiming the gospel of Jesus’ temptation in the desert – well, that seems like a perfectly good start to the Lenten season.  But why read the Transfiguration – why here on this 2nd Sunday of Lent? Is there a meaning, particularly Lenten, that we should hear and understand – apart from the meaning and message we would consider on August 6th? Continue reading

Looking around

I wonder why the Catholic Church chooses this gospel account every 2nd Sunday in Lent. We always hear the reading of the Transfiguration, the glorious account of the divine glory of God being revealed in the person of Jesus. It is amazing – so amazing that we celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration every August 6th; we have been doing so for 800 years or so. Our Christian brothers and sisters proclaim this gospel on the Sunday before Lent. That also makes some sense to me because it is from this point in the story that Jesus will head straight to Jerusalem, culminating in Passion Week, fulfilling exactly what Jesus told them: he would be raised from the dead after suffering. Jesus’ words point to the crucifixion, just as Lent begins to point us to Good Friday. Reading the Transfiguration immediately before Lent gets us ready. But why the 2nd Sunday in Lent? But why proclaim this gospel twice in the same liturgical year? Continue reading