Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle B

Second Sunday of Lent



Mark 9.2-10

"It is wonderful for us to be here"

Peter's expression of wonder, and his wish to stay, locked in that moment of Transfiguration, are easily understood. In a way beyond description he and James and John have experienced a glimpse of the hidden divine personality of Jesus. Something of the wonder, awe and mystery of that experience is conveyed with language and images taken from the Old Testament. But they remain only images pointing to the reality of something in their midst yet beyond their grasp - the divine Sonship of Jesus.

Moses and Elijah represent the Law and the Prophets of Old, which are now fulfilled and surpassed in undreamed of manner, and the voice from heaven reveals Jesus as "my Son, the Beloved". This is the longed-for Messiah to whom all must listen. But Peter still does not understand the kind of Messiah Jesus is called to be. His wish to build tents and stay immersed in that moment of glory displays this. But no, they must descend from the mountain of ecstasy, re-engage with the ordinary world, and live through the grim realities of the sufferings of Jesus. Only then will they know what "rising from the dead" does mean.

Like Peter, we would like to stay immersed in the positive experiences of life, and find there always the soothing presence of Christ. Also like Peter, we have to learn that belief in Jesus Christ does not protect us from the harsher aspects of life. The simple truth is, that Christ is with us every bit as much in the dark moments of life, drawing us in all circumstances into the as-yet-hidden light of his resurrection. The message for us of the Transfiguration of Jesus is that even after moments of uplifting, peace-giving spiritual consolation, we must still keep our feet on the ground, continue to listen to the voice of Jesus and follow him on the way of cross to the eventual glory of resurrection.