BILINGUAL REFLECTIONS FOR SUNDAY
SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT (A) Matthew 17: 1-9 March 12, 2017
“Jesus was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white like the light.”
We all have seen, and love those spectacular shows or movies where our favorite singer, actor, or actress appear surrounded by all kind of special sound, light, and makeup effects. But there is something more we admire and are attracted to, and it is the makeup cosmetologists use to give a new dimension of beauty in their faces also the artists are dress up in glamorous fashion. In this way they add a lot of realism to the scene.
Our life and our Christian vocation are a journey of faith; they are a journey because during our lifespan we must walk to our destiny which is God, and during this daily process we experience joys and sorrows, and therefore we need faith. In our journey we have biblical models: Abraham and Sara, our ancestors in the faith, Jesus, our paradigm of faith, and Paul, who enjoys the “Good news” he preaches, but also “Shares the hardships for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.”
After the original sin, God began a new stage of history with Abram. With his barren wife Sara, and his relatives, and like any “young adventurer” seventy five year old Abram set out on a journey to the unknown land of Canaan, trusting in God´s promise to be the father of a people as numerous as the stars. This is Abraham´s vocation not only to be a father of a son, but also a father in the faith of a nation.
Just as Abraham was called to a new vocation with a mix of joyfulness and obstacles, so Jesus´ favorite three disciples are called to go with Jesus to the top of the mountain to see the glory of the Risen Lord. That was a powerful prayer experience, but also a painful beginning of suffering.
The central message of the transfiguration is the Father´s recognition of Jesus as his beloved Son, and the need to listen to him. As a “theophany,” or God´s manifestation, it has a lot of symbolism. It reminds us the experience of Moses on Mount Sinai, and the baptism of Jesus, with the voice of the Father, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” In this statement Jesus is identified as the Father´s Son, servant, and prophet. There are some strong apocalyptic figures, similar to those in Daniel: the shining face and clothes, and the prostration, with the tender words and action of Jesus, “Rise, do not be afraid.”
The two characters accompanying Jesus symbolize Jesus as the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. And the final verse of the event, “As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, ´Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead,´” is a foretaste of the resurrection of Christ, the glory he will enjoy as a faithful servant after his passion and death.
Celebrating God´s manifestation today in the transfiguration of Jesus, on this second Sunday of Lent, we can imagine ourselves in the atmosphere of the transfiguration, with all the special effects, and even hearing the voice of the Father, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” Our life is like a desert of misfortunes, but also, we are invited by Jesus to climb to the top of the mountain and experience in our prayer God´s closeness above all in the midst of hard times. Like in the lovely mystical experience of Peter, James, and John, let us feel Jesus´ presence telling us, “Rise, do not be afraid.” Without this experience of transfiguration we could feel lost in fear not knowing where God wants us to go. Again, let us listen to the voice of the Father. The Transfiguration is also for us, a strengthening, and a source of hope in time of trial.