Second Sunday Lent - Transfiguration

Church of the Transfiguration on top of Mount ...
Church of the Transfiguration on top of Mount Tabor, in the Lower Galilee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Scripture Readings for this Sunday's Mass are here

Below are several of my previous posts which deal with the theme of transfiguration.

Click on each link below 

  • Second Sunday Lent 2012 from here.
  • Feast of Transfiguration held in August 2012 from here
  • Transfiguration 2012 from here

  • A post on Knowledge v Enlightenment from here
It contains a link to a post with this extract below, from a wonderful reflection by Madeleine L'Engle :

"The story of the Mount of Transfiguration is also strong stuff, not to be understood in the language of provable fact. Jesus, like Elijah, stands “upon the mount before the Lord.” He took with him Peter and James and John, and extraordinary, incomprehensible things came to pass. Jesus’ clothing became shining, and Elijah himself appeared to Jesus in the brilliance, and Moses came, too, and they talked together, the three of them, breaking ordinary chronology into a million fragments. And then a cloud overshadowed them, as it overshadowed Moses on the mount, and the voice of God shouted out of the cloud.

Strong stuff. Mythic stuff. That stuff which makes life worth living, which lies on the other side of provable fact. How can we be Christians without understanding this? The incarnation itself bursts out of the bounds of reason. That the power which created all of the galaxies, all of the stars in all of their courses, should willingly limit that power in order to be one of us, and all for love of us, cannot be understood in terms of laboratory proof, but only of love.

And it is that love which calls us to move beyond the limited world of fact and into the glorious world of love itself. Of Jesus standing with Moses and Elijah, both of whom had themselves stood on the mount and been illuminated by God’s glory. When Moses went down from the mountain his face was so brilliant that people could not bear to look on him, and he had to cover his face in order not to blind them.

The brilliance of God is indeed blinding, and we need myth, story, to help us bear the light.

At the Transfiguration we see the incarnation through divine eyes. This is what God sees. We can only catch a glimpse because of the brightness. At the same time the Transfiguration is full of revelation and shrouded in mystery. 

But it is this mysterious light and glory that will see us through the long days of Lent as we travel in the shadow of the cross. In her sermon, Madeline continues on why we have a hard time understanding Jesus:

Jesus was not a Westerner and He did not have a Western mind, which is perhaps why He is so frequently misunderstood by the Western mind today. His first miracle was a lavish turning of a large quantity of water into very fine wine at a wedding feast where the guests had already had a lot to drink. He was not interested in the righteous and morally upright people whom He saw to be hard of heart and judgmental, but in those who knew they were sinners and who came to Him for healing. His birth was heralded by angels, visited by adoring shepherds, and resulted in the slaughter of all Jewish infants under the age of two.

If Jesus was a threat to Herod two thousand years ago, He is still a threat today because He demands that we see ourselves as we really are, that we drop our self-protective devices, that we become willing to live the abundant life He calls us to live. 

We retaliate by trying to turn Him into a wimp who has come to protect us from an angry father who wants us punished, and the retaliation hasn’t worked, and we’re left even more frightened and even more grasping and even more judgmental.

And that is what Lent is about: seeing who we really are and letting Christ lead us into that abundant life that is full of the love of God. It is a season of repentance and self-examination. 
One thing the Transfiguration makes clear is that we are not God. But as we walk the days of Lent, seeing our humanness good and bad, we have the light of the Transfiguration to remind us of who our God is. 

And it helps us make it to Easter when not even death can hold onto the light that has come into the world."

  • A 2011 post that follows on in the Gospels and shows what happens to the disciples after the Transfiguration.

 From today's Psalm 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.

John Rutter's version of the Psalm 27

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