Gospel Reflections

2nd Sunday of Lent

Mark 9:2-10

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Antoinette Tombozi

Published: February 25, 2018

Read Mark 9:2-10

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone by themselves. Read More…


I am a creature of God, without God I am nothing, I owe everything to my Creator who owes me nothing. 

The Transfiguration event opens up the revelation issue of the first covenant.  The word spoken by the Lord to us is not any more a message but a person:  “This is my Son.”  In the person of Jesus, the new covenant does not consist at first in welcoming a new law or a new prophesy, but in opening up to the work of grace manifested in Jesus.                 

Indeed, we are called to live according to the faith and moral code of the Gospel, but what makes me a Christian is not practice but faith in the person of Jesus and the in-dwelling of Jesus (Jn 15:4). The Gospel, the Good News, is not a text which tells about the life and message of Jesus, but the event of Jesus’ victory over death. The life of Jesus manifests the true way of salvation, that is, to live in communion with God.  It is in this sense that Jesus presents himself as the way, the truth and the life. (Jn 14:6)

Privileged witnesses do receive the revelation of the glory which Christ will have at his Resurrection and final coming.  They recognize where the way of the cross of the Son of Man will end.  Elijah and Moses in the Old Testament are the two important persons to whom God revealed himself on the mountain; Jewish tradition awaited their return at the end of time, at the coming of the Messiah.  (Malachy 3:21-24)  The Resurrection would open the eyes of the disciples to the profound communion of Jesus’ divine life, which is not overcome by evil. 

What they saw with their eyes on Mount Tabor before the passion will again be manifested at the Resurrection.  When God makes a covenant with humans, he brings to completion the work of life which he has initiated despite evil disfiguring the world.  If we turn toward God in confidence and love, divine life will have the last word. 

Moses and Elijah appear beside Jesus because they are precursors who have already passed through suffering and death into glory

The voice coming from the cloud, symbol of the hidden presence of God, reminds both Peter and  us that it is not yet time to enjoy celestial glory, and even less a time to be attached to worldly goods.  It is a time to listen to the beloved Son of God, the new Moses, the Son of David and the Messiah who like Isaac by his sacrifice will enable us to pass from slavery in this world to eternal glory.  God has already revealed it at Baptism at the beginning of Jesus’ activity.  He reveals it now in the Transfiguration, at the beginning of the road which leads him to the cross.

The disciples obey the order of Christ, not to tell anyone what they had seen until he was risen from the dead. But they did not understand that the Messiah must pass through death in order to enter into the glory which they had just seen. For Holy Scripture says that the prophet Elijah would come to put everything in its own place.

Jesus responds that Elijah has returned in the person of John the Baptist but he was unable to re-establish everything, because he was killed.  Nevertheless, he is the precursor of the Messiah in the death which he suffered. For Scripture says not only that Elijah must return but also that the Messiah must suffer.

The return of Elijah in the person of John the Baptist is not to be seen as a reincarnation, but as the angel of the Lord declared to Zachariah, “He (John) will walk before God with the spirit and power of Elijah.” (Luke 1:17)

Contemplating the resurrection, the disciples noticed not only the future of Jesus, but also our own.  For if suffering destroys death and death destroys our body, God is capable of transforming it into the image of the Risen Christ. 

Through the account of the Transfiguration, the Lord wants to give us new courage.  “Do not be afraid, I have overcome the world.  With me you will pass through sufferings and the difficulties of this life.  This does not mean that God has abandoned us.  And at the end of your life I will manifest in your entire person, the covenant which I established with you through my only Son – and like him, you, too, will be transfigured.”  Amen.

 

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