Engaging the Gospel – Second Sunday of Lent

Second Sunday of Lent: Gospel – Matthew 17:1-9

The Transfiguration

Last Sunday, we toiled along with Jesus undergoing temptation in the desert; in this Sunday’s Gospel, we are uplifted by His dazzling Transfiguration.

Pope Benedict XVI has commented on this abrupt transition from the depths to the heights:

Considered together, these episodes anticipate the Paschal Mystery: Jesus’ struggle with the tempter preludes the great final duel of the Passion, while the light of his transfigured Body anticipates the glory of the Resurrection.

On the one hand, we see Jesus, fully man, sharing with us even temptation; on the other, we contemplate him as the Son of God who divinizes our humanity.

Thus, we could say that these two Sundays serve as pillars on which to build the entire structure of Lent until Easter, and indeed, the entire structure of Christian life, which consists essentially in paschal dynamism: from death to life.

Angelus of February 17, 2008.

Blessed John Paul II commented on another kind of dynamism inherent in this passage – though we experience joy on the mountaintop, and glimpse our future glory in the radiant Christ, we don’t have the luxury of staying there:

We, pilgrims on earth, are granted to rejoice in the company of the transfigured Lord when we immerse ourselves in the things of above through prayer and the celebration of the divine mysteries.

But, like the disciples, we too must descend from Tabor into daily life where human events challenge our faith.

On the mountain we saw; on the paths of life we are asked tirelessly to proclaim the Gospel which illuminates the steps of believers.

Homily of August 6, 1999.

Question: When have I had a “mountaintop experience” in my spiritual life?