We are served today with the beautiful and all-important gospel of the transfiguration.
Jesus’ actual transfiguration, his face shining like the sun, his clothes dazzling white, tells Peter, James and John that there is more to this man than what is about to happen to him, more to his life than what they have seen of it, and shall see – its violent end. The memory of this event will tide them over during the time of his passion and death, and up to his resurrection. Something to cling to in the darkest darkness.
The appearance of Moses and Elijah signifies the stamp of acknowledgement of this man Jesus by the entire Law (Moses) and all the prophets (Elijah).
The voice that is heard from the cloud says the same thing that it said at Jesus’ baptism: “This is my Son, the Beloved. With him I am well pleased.” But this time, the voice adds a crucial appeal: “Listen to him.” In other words, this man Jesus speaks in my name. Listen to everything he says.
And of course, these words, at the same time, are a veiled reference to the Songs of the Suffering Servant, of which I have already said a great deal. For those who have eyes to see, this reference to the Songs of the Suffering Servant is at the same time a veiled announcement of what awaits Jesus: the fate of the Suffering Servant, the violent death. The disciples probably didn’t get this at the time they heard the voice, but they most certainly made the connection after Jesus’ resurrection.
The brilliance of God’s providence in this incident tells me that we can and we must trust him at all times, no matter what happens. And by extension, that we can and that we must trust Jesus at all times, no matter what comes.
I have little else to say, other than to lift up a prayer of thanksgiving to God for the privilege of a life lived in possession of our gospel, the privilege of a life lived in Christian faith and hope. Like Abraham in today’s first reading, we have been mysteriously chosen to live our adventure of exodus from where we are to where he wants to take us, chosen to live out our lives as an alliance, a covenant, with the Lord of Heaven and earth, in the body of Christ, his Son. A thrilling adventure, a humbling but at the same time bottomlessly beautiful mystery of election by God.
Lent is a good time to remember that we have been chosen, a good time to renew our commitment to God’s choice of us, a good time to pray for the grace to rely ever more deeply “on the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, …, according to his own purpose and grace, the grace given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” 2 Tm 1,9 (today’s second reading)
By the grace of God, may all these things come to pass in this Lenten season.