2nd Sunday of Lent 2011

What is the light radiating from the Mount of Transfiguration? Let us try to identify the path Jesus is silently following from the desert of testing to the Mount of the divine Presence. It is interesting to note that during the first week of Lent the Holy Spirit was the protagonist, conducting Jesus into the desert to be tested. Now it is Jesus who takes the initiative, leading his disciples to the “burning bush” of the mystery of God.

The word “lead” (anaphero: to lift on high, to offer) used by Matthew conveys the idea of offering something in gratitude. Jesus wants to teach us that everything is a gift. Because of this he prays for his disciples and offers them to his Father: “I pray-for those you have given me, because they belong to you” (Jn. 17:9). It is precisely this offering that reveals the Master’s freedom of heart-he is not afraid to enlighten the world with the transfiguring power of a completely new kind of love. Before ascending the mountain, he forewarns his disciples of his imminent Passion and insists on the importance of losing one’s life so as to find it–words that certainly did nothing to soothe the fears of his disciples, who by nature were more inclined to save their skin rather than risk it.

Peter, James and John are put to the test: they are called to let go of their own way of thinking and adopt the thinking of God. This new exodus is a pilgrimage from the low-lying “plain” of human viewpoints to the lofty “mountain” of God’s perspective. Only those who are courageous and trusting enough to allow Jesus to guide them will be able to contemplate the “Face” that is more luminous than the sun. The Father’s voice, which echoes in the ears of all his disciples down the ages, proclaims that Jesus reveals his glory only to those who faithfully listen to his Word in all its “otherness,” even when this Word leads them to embrace the incomprehensible path of the cross.

On the mountain, Jesus offers his Father the love of One who responds to the Gospel with generosity, the fruit of a Word he accepts, and who offers himself as God’s definitive Word to the world. This Word has the power to save and transfigure every person who hears it.