Wake Up, Philippines!

Mk 9:2-10 – Sunday Gospel Reflection

Posted in Gospel of Mark, Gospel Reflections by Erineus on March 7, 2009

Mk 9:2-10 –  The Transfiguration of Jesus
Second Sunday of Lent
Sunday Gospel Reflection

In today’s gospel’s account, Jesus who took Peter, James and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves “was transfigured before their eyes, and His clothes became dazzlingly white – whiter than the work of any bleacher could make them” (Mk 9:2-3). At the Transfiguration, Jesus’ face was no longer emptied (see Phil 2:7) of His divine glory. His face was clearly recognizable as the face of God.

From the day Peter confessed that is Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, the Master “began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things…and be killed, and on the third day be raised (Mt 16:21). Peter scorns this prediction, nor do the others understand it any better than he (Cf. Mt 16:22-23; Mt 17:23; Lk 9:45). In this context the mysterious episode of Jesus’ transfiguration takes place on a high mountain (Cf. Mt 17:1-8 and parallels; 2 Pt 1:16-18), before three witnesses chosen by himself: Peter, James and John. Jesus face and clothes become dazzling with light, and Moses and Elijah appear, speaking “of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem” (Lk 9:31). A cloud covers him and a voice from heaven says: “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him” (Lk 9:35) (CCC 554)!

For a moment Jesus discloses his divine glory, confirming Peter’s confession. He also reveals that he will have to go by the way of the cross at Jerusalem in order to “enter into his glory” (Lk 24:26). Why?  Because this is His Father’s will and as a Beloved Son in order to please the Father he is to serve and obey Him (see cf. Is 42:1). On this event, “the whole Trinity appeared: the Father in the voice; the Son in the man; the Spirit in the shining cloud” St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 45, 4, ad 2).

What are the meanings and significance of the Lord’s Transfiguration that we read this gospel two times a year: on the 2nd Sunday of Lent and on August 6th?

First, Jesus revealed his splendor and glory as the beloved Son of God to his disciples to strengthen them for the scandal of the Cross. “The Gospels report that at two solemn moments, the Baptism and the TRANSFIGURATION OF Christ, the voice OF the Father designates JESUS his ‘beloved Son’.[Cf. Mt 3:17 ; cf. Mt 17:5 .] JESUS calls himself the ‘only Son OF God’, and by this title affirms his eternal pre-existence.[Jn 3:16 ; cf. Jn 10:36 .] He asks for faith in ‘the name OF the only Son OF God’.[Jn 3:18 .] In the centurion’s exclamation before the crucified Christ, ‘Truly this man was the Son of  God’, [Mk 15:39 .] that Christian confession is already heard. Only in the Paschal mystery can the believer give the title ‘Son of God’ its full meaning” (CCC 444).

Jesus went to the mountain knowing full well what awaited him in Jerusalem – his betrayal, rejection and crucifixion. This will definitely scandalize his apostles. Hence, the need to reveal to his disciples his divine splendor and glory to strengthen them when that moment of crucifixion and death comes.

Second, “The Transfiguration gives us a foretaste of Christ’s glorious coming, when he will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body” (Phil 3:21). “His glory shone from a body like our own, to show that the Church , which is the body of Christ would one day  share his glory  (see Preface of the Transfiguration). But it also recalls that “it is through many persecutions that we must enter the Kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

Third, “The Word became flesh to be our model of holiness: ‘Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me.’ ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. ‘[Mt 11:29 ; Jn 14:6 .] On the mountain of the transfiguration, the Father commands: ‘Listen to him!’ [Mk 9:7 ; cf. Dt 6:4-5 .] Jesus is the model for the Beatitudes and the norm OF the new law: ‘Love one another as I have loved you. ‘[Jn 15:12 .] This love implies an effective offering OF oneself, after his example. [Cf. Mk 8:34 .] (CCC 459)”

Jesus possesses the glory, a manifestation of divinity, because He is God, equal to the Father. Hence he is entitled to all our reverence, worship, praise, petition, obedience of faith and love. He, like the father, has to be glorified too.

Friends, for you and your salvation “you have been purchased by Jesus, and at a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Cor 6:20). How?

  • by your offering your bodies as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God as your spiritual worship (see Rm 12:1);
  • by your good works and practice of virtues. “People, in seeing your good works [and virtues], give glory to God our Father who is in heaven (see Mt 5:16);
  • by your life of total dedication and consecration to God. “Use all that is in you, as if it were his own, for the service and glory of the Father” (St. John Eudes, Tract. De admirabili corder Jesu 1, 5). “Whatever you do, either you eat or drink, do it for the glory of God.”

“The glory of God is a man fully human, fully alive!” (St. Ireneus).

Picture: http://www.flickr.com

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