Terms of Endearment

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Second Sunday of Lent

Matthew 17:1-9

After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone. 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.”

Opening Prayer: Holy Trinity, shine down upon me as I begin my prayer. Father, I invoke your aid. Son, I praise your majesty. Holy Spirit, I bless your glorious name. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever, Amen.

Encountering Christ:

  1. And He Was Transfigured before Them: Why does the Church present this Gospel passage to us at the beginning of Lent? The most direct answer is that it is a preparation for Christ’s suffering and death on Good Friday. In St. Mark’s account, Jesus quizzed his friends just after coming down from the mountain: “How is it written regarding the Son of Man that he must suffer greatly and be treated with contempt?” He tried to get them thinking. “You have just seen me in glory; what would you say if I told you I would soon be in disgrace?” Christ showed himself in his glory on the mountain so that his apostles would not be scandalized or fall away when they saw him naked and crowned with thorns. In my own life, Christ has often given me periods of clarity and consolation to prepare me for times of darkness and confusion.
  1. Terms of Endearment: The Holy Trinity is present on Mount Tabor. The voice is of the Father. In the cloud we see the Spirit. And the Son is glorified. Truly, the glory of God himself is present on the holy mountain! Along with the apostles, we overhear the tender words of the Father for his dear Son: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Jesus is loved by his Father. Jesus is loved by his friends the apostles. He is also adored by his Blessed Mother Mary. Jesus, beloved of all hearts! “Fretted by sallies of his mother’s kisses/With light upon him from his father’s eyes!”–William Wordsworth
  1. Lent: Climbing up “a high mountain” is hard work. When they got there, the apostles didn’t particularly enjoy hearing the Father’s voice: “They fell prostrate and were very much afraid.” Additionally, in the twelfth verse the disciples received some bad news: “So also will the Son of Man suffer.” Lent can be a toilsome journey up a figurative mountain. We can be apt to get wrapped up in ourself and our own crosses, forgetting that Easter will come. We endure Lenten hardships, but always with Jesus, and he rewards us on Easter Sunday with a taste of celestial glory, a bit of Paschal joy.

Conversing with Christ: Jesus, you are Lord indeed. You are the only Son of the Father, sitting at his right hand, interceding for me as I continue on this journey of Lent. You enjoy transfigured glory, heavenly glory, for all time. Encourage me by your Holy Spirit and strengthen me for this Lenten journey.

Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will devoutly pray the Glory Be three times.

For Further Reflection: “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood,” by William Wordsworth.

written by Br. Erik Burckel, LC

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