Test, Trust, Triumph: Week 2




On The Mountain

Second Sunday of Lent
March 1, 2015

Readings:  Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18; Romans 8:31b-34; Mark 9:2-10

Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; then from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them.  As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant.

Meditation: Brian Eggers

I just love the journey of Lent each year.  We are faced with the ups and downs of each week’s readings and are challenged to see ourselves in those ups and downs, twists and turns, alongside Jesus.  This week we find ourselves on the mountaintop with Jesus again and lo and behold Elijah and Moses show up!  WOW! What must have that been like? Two of the Old Testament all stars showing up to talk with Jesus – and Jesus is dressed so brilliantly – the whole scene was completely surreal.  No wonder Peter didn’t know what he was talking about in wanting to stay there. Would you? Then the voice of God! “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”  But the kicker is; Jesus told them not to say anything until after he rose from the dead.  What was that all about?!?

I see in this reading a microcosm of our lives and our theme for this year.  In fact, in all three readings our Lenten theme jumps right out at us.  We all experience surreal moments in our lives, either of complete ecstasy (joy) or utter pain and darkness.  That’s life.  But how do we embrace the test in those times?  Do we give thanks for the gift of utter joy? Do we run away from the challenge of dying to our selves, our egos and allow Jesus to shine forth in dazzling white garments?  How are we trusting the cross when we need to put others first before ourselves? How do we treat those who are different and at odds with who we think we are and what we believe?  Do we trust in the power of love, of the cross, or shrink back and hide or close our ears to the voice of God? How are we living the triumph, when God has given us everything in Jesus Christ? Do we live in the awesomeness of a God who loves unconditionally despite our self-hatred, our faults and failings, our prejudices and wrong judgments? Do we live in the triumph of the one who has given up his own son so that we might have life fully?

I am sure Peter, James and John came away from that mountaintop experience with more questions than answers.  As they entered the plains of their everyday living, they still needed to embrace their Savior Jesus, trust His love and live in His resurrection, even though they didn’t understand what that meant until later.  The same is true for us, even in the ordinariness of our lives. How will we embrace God’s presence in the challenges we face each day? Will we trust in the power of God’s undying love in the lightness and darkness of our lives?  Will we live in the triumph of rising from the dead each and every day, as we remember our baptism and God’s eternal and intimate presence in our lives?

Let us continue our journey, grateful and aware and mindful of God’s presence and love in our every step up and down the mountain.

Pray, Reflect, Discuss

What is the cost to you for following Jesus up and down the mountain?

What joys do you find in embracing the challenges of discipleship; trusting in the cross and living Jesus’ triumph?

Jesus revealed himself in three different ways in the transfiguration; how are you a revelation of God to others in your life?