The Gospel of the 2nd Sunday of Lent each year is an account of the mystery of the Transfiguration.
This year, the year of Mark, the Gospel passage comes from Mark’s Gospel.
Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone by themselves. There in their presence he was transfigured: his clothes became dazzlingly white, whiter than any earthly bleacher could make them. Elijah appeared to them with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus. Then Peter spoke to Jesus: ‘Rabbi,’ he said ‘it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ He did not know what to say; they were so frightened. And a cloud came, covering them in shadow; and there came a voice from the cloud, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.’ Then suddenly, when they looked round, they saw no one with them any more but only Jesus.
As they came down from the mountain he warned them to tell no one what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. They observed the warning faithfully, though among themselves they discussed what ‘rising from the dead’ could mean.
The readings of this Sunday have raised the themes of death and sacrifice, and of victory over death.
The disciples discuss what ‘rising from the dead’ might mean. Are they avoiding discussion of what might bring about the death of the Son of Man?
In 1980 there was a national Pastoral Congress in Liverpool which produced a positive and encouraging report: We are the Easter People. It is true. Through baptism and in Christ, we are – an Easter people. But we are also a people in live in dark and corrupting times, and are a people not immune to that darkness and corruption.
We see the light of Christ. We know his promise. Do we know where we are and how to be when we come down from the mountain?
Photograph of the sanctuary of the basilica of the Transfiguration, Mount Tabor, Israel. (c) 2013, Allen Morris