Gospel Reflections

2nd Sunday of Lent

Matthew 17:1-9

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Rose Ndianefo

Published: March 12, 2017

In the Gospel of today, Jesus took three of His disciples, Peter, James, and John and went to the mountain where He was transfigured before them. We are told that His face shone like the sun and His garment became white…and there appeared Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. A bright cloud covered them and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, the beloved…listen to Him.”  Jesus told them not to tell anyone until after the resurrection. They were overcome by fear but Jesus reassured them not be afraid.

Mountain, as used in this Gospel, stands for a place to meet God or where divine revelation occurs and the cloud symbolizes the presence of God. People had been asking who Jesus was, even though Peter had said earlier in the Scripture that Jesus is the Son of God.

That notwithstanding, when Jesus was predicting his passion and death, there is a possibility that the disciples were still in doubt.  If he were the Messiah, how could he be talking about his passion and death?

In today’s Gospel, God reveals Jesus as His Son, “This is my Son, the beloved listen to Him.”  This is a confirmation that Jesus is indeed the Messiah, and His passion, death and resurrection were the will of God for Him.  Recall that at baptism, God confirmed Jesus as Messiah. Here He emphasizes it even more.

Reflecting on this, we see that the disciples were given the grace to have a foretaste of heaven and to see Jesus in His glory. God cleared their doubt as to whether Jesus is the Messiah the Jews were waiting for. It was possible that they did not understand the mystery of the passion before then and that after His passion and death would come His resurrection.

Again, God revealed Jesus as His beloved Son and admonishes us to listen to Him who is His final word to humanity. Jesus is the true message of God whose word is “yes” and “amen”. We believe that God is saying to us today, “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him.”  This is a message of hope to all of us especially those in doubt.

In our own time, this is a call to listen to the word of God and live it. We need to be steadfast in prayer and allow ourselves to be transformed by the living word of God.  What a renewed world it will be if we meditate on the word of God and listen attentively to God’s inspirations and apply them in our everyday lives!

There is no other but God.  We are resilient because God is interested in us. This is evident in the faces of those who can still smile while in pain and suffering, especially the midst of global crises, war, economic recession, insurgency, bombings, and racism.

God is there for us all the time. His strength and grace are here for us. We are invited to be prayerful and to trust in God. With prayer we transcend the difficulties in this world. Through prayer we are transformed. When transformation takes place in our lives, we will never be the same. We will see things as they really are. We will see beyond the difficulties of this life.

Peter’s proposal to make three booths, one for Jesus, Moses and Elijah is a good one. For him, his own comfort was not a priority. He did not think of himself but of the comfort of others. This is a mark of humility, self-awareness and selflessness. We learned from Peter in this Gospel reading that we must forget ourselves in serving others. Forgetfulness of self is the best way to serve and be in union with God and others.

This may sound awkward in a world where the human tendency is to grab for self what belong to many people, to take the best portion of a gift meant for everybody, to take best position, or secure it for one’s own loved ones even when these are not qualified for the position,

“Grant, O Lord, that in our contemplation of the mystery of your passion, we do not run away from the essential things. Help us to contemplate you, your Eucharistic love, your crucified love as the sum reality necessary to understand all the rest as the one reality from which all others receive light and clarity…”  (Carlo Maria Martini SJ)

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