Second Sunday of Lent
A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.”
cf. Lk 6:45
Today, on this second Sunday of Lent, the Gospel reading we hear in the Liturgy of the Word at Mass tells the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus. To a Jewish audience this story echoes of Moses in the Book of Exodus, where Moses comes down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands, and "[Moses] did not know that the skin of his face had become radiant while he conversed with the LORD" (Ex 34:29). Here, in Mark's Gospel, we encounter what Matthew also recorded in his depiction of the Transfiguration event, "Jesus was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light" (cf. Mt 17:2). Jesus, joined by Peter, James, and John, encounters the law and the prophets of the Old Testament when then "Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus" (Mk 9:4). Today, as we enter the second week of Lent, we are reminded and given a glimpse of the glory to come in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are encouraged to call to mind what glory awaits for those who abide in the Lord. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets. As we approach Easter we will find this promise fulfilled as he establishes his New Covenant. Let us continue on our Lenten journey; let us open our hearts to Jesus and encounter him in the Holy Scriptures; let us encounter him face-to-face as we receive him in the Eucharist in the Mass. Blessed are we indeed who are called to the Supper of the Lamb! For a Gospel reflection of the Transfiguration please enjoy below. Peace be with you! From the Author, My Daily Bread: A Reason2bCatholic blog
LISTEN: This is my beloved Son.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark 9:2-10
Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. 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.” He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them.
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. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant.
The Gospel of the Lord
by Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, today’s Gospel presents the Transfiguration of Christ. What is the Transfiguration itself? Mark speaks literally of a metamorphosis, a going beyond the form that he had. If I can use Paul’s language, it is “the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of Jesus Christ.” In and through his humble humanity, his divinity shines forth. The proximity of his divinity in no way compromises the integrity of his humanity, but rather makes it shine in greater beauty. This is the New Testament version of the burning bush.
The Jesus who is both divine and human is the Jesus who is evangelically compelling. If he is only divine, then he doesn’t touch us; if he is only human, he can’t save us. His splendor consists in the coming together of the two natures, without mixing, mingling, or confusion.
This same Jesus then accompanies his disciples back down the mountain and walks with them in the ordinary rhythms of their lives. This is the Christ who wants to reign as Lord of our lives in every detail. If we forget about this dimension, then Jesus becomes a distant memory, a figure from the past.
Reflect: How does the reality of the Transfiguration and the Resurrection give you hope?
Credit: Daily Lenten Gospel Reflections, Bishop Robert Barron, February 28, 2021; Word on Fire, https://www.wordonfire.org. Information herein posted under the "rules of fair use" to foster education and discussion in accordance with Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976.
The Holy Scriptures were not given to us that we should enclose them in books, but that we should engrave them upon our hearts.”
Saint John Chrysostom
reflection on the painting
by Patrick van der Vorst
This painting hangs here in Rome at the Vatican Museum. It is Raphael’s last painting and probably one of his best. In his biography, written by Giorgio Vasari in the 16th century, it is referred to as ‘the most famous, the most beautiful and most divine’. Raphael died at the very young age of 37. The composition of our painting is divided into two distinct parts: the Miracle of the Possessed Boy on a lower level and the Transfiguration of Christ in the top half. The transfigured Christ floats in sunburst of light, accompanied by Moses and Elijah who are next to Him. The disciples below are blinded by the light, but yet trying to glance at what is going on and praying at the same time. The upward pointing gestures of some of the figures below link the two parts together.
But why do we have this passage of the Transfiguration on the second Sunday of Lent? Doesn’t it seem to be out of place? We started Lent barely 10 days ago, we are fasting, we are in a season of penance, purple vestments in Church…. and now we read how Jesus’ ‘clothes became dazzlingly white, whiter than any earthly bleacher could make them’. It is a sign of hope. It is a reminder for us, indicating where we are heading to during this period of Lent. The disciples who witnessed this first-hand soon had to endure seeing their Friend go through the Passion and being crucified. We know that the Passion is to come, and yet today we are reminded of Christ’s glory to come. The intensity of our first days in Lent is being recognised here, and a ray of hope is given to remind us why we are fasting and doing penance: because soon God’s full glory will be revealed to us at Easter….
Credit: Patrick van der Vorst, Gospel Reading for Today, Christian Art, "There in their presence he was transfigured," February 28, 2021; https://www.christian.art/todays-reading.php Information herein posted under the "rules of fair use" to foster education and discussion in accordance with Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976.
Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”
Saint Jerome (ca. 347 – 420 A.D.), Father and Doctor of the Church
Jesus, Word Incarnate, help me to know you.
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always. Holy Family, pray for us. Amen.