2nd Sunday of Lent March 1st
Dr. David McCarthy
Professor of Theology
Down From The Misty Mountain
“Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; from the cloud came a voice, ‘This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him’.” Mk 9:7
The Gospel reading for today recounts Jesus’ Transfiguration. The events are told from the point of view of Peter, James, and John. They see Jesus transfigured, clothed in “dazzling white,” and talking with Moses and Elijah. The voice of God – coming from a cloud – brings the events to a climax. “This is my Son. Listen to Him.” (Mk 9:7)
The Transfiguration (Mk 9:2-8) occurs between Jesus’ first and second predictions of His Passion. After Jesus first speaks of his way to the cross, Peter has the nerve to rebuke Jesus (Mk 8:32). After the second time, the disciples start to argue about who was the greatest (Mk 9:33-37). Obviously, they are unwilling or just unable to understand the pathway of God’s self-giving love on the cross. In this context, the command, “Listen to Him,” carries a particular force. It confirms Jesus’ own words about His mission of service and suffering, of redemption and reconciliation for the world.
No wonder we hear the good word of the Transfiguration on the Second Sunday of Lent, “This is my Son. Listen to Him.” In the Transfiguration, Jesus appears in His glory, but the experience points us to the more surprising glory given to us through the cross. The Transfiguration also reminds us that the way of the cross is difficult to accept. Like Peter, we are likely to want to set up some tents and stay right there on the misty mountain. But the experience of the Transfiguration is a moment on the way to Jerusalem, to Cavalry and the cross. This way to Jerusalem is the pathway of Lent. It gives us days to come down from the misty mountain, so that we can learn of the full glory of God.
Let us pray, this Lent, that we might be able to hear God speaking to us
in ways we do not expect. Amen.