2nd Sunday of Lent - Year B - Fr John's Homilies

  1. Today’s Gospel is called the story as the Transfiguration. Jesus’ appearing in glory was a new phase in the journey the apostles made with him. From his first appearance in the world, Jesus was clearly visible as Saviour of all those in need of help.


  1. He appeared so especially to those who felt they were in some sort of need and so wanted to turn to him in their prayer for healing and forgiveness.


  1. The gospels often tell us about this element of Jesus’ journey. People were attracted to him for this reason alone, which is also why Jesus often withdrew from the crowd.


  1. Those who went looking for his healing power found it very difficult to find him (Mark 1:40). This was why it was said so frequently that all found it difficult to really recognize him; although they kept coming to him in ever greater numbers.


  1. This incident on the mount of Transfiguration shows us that something radical happened then. Jesus’ divinity was now linked to his lowering himself to be with the smallest of all people. He was getting down to the reality of the cross.
  1. This was always the truth of Jesus, he always had it within him. He would now be following in the steps of his two great ancestors, Abraham and Moses. He would be leading God’s people to salvation by identifying with the least of them.


  1. The story of the transfiguration is right at the centre of Mark's gospel. The disciples from the very, beginning had been asking themselves who Jesus was.


  1. At a certain point they began to think that he was the Messiah. Their ideas were, however, still very confused. Like the rest of the people, they expected a glorious messiah, a rich and powerful ruler, capable of restoring the kingdom of God on earth.


  1. We see this false notion in the words of Peter who suggests they make three shelters; he is convinced that the Kingdom of God has come and it is no longer necessary to die.
  2. The shelters that Peter wants to build also have a symbolic meaning. The people of Israel celebrated the end of the harvest season with a great feast that lasted a full week and was called "feast of shelters."


  1. The people built shelters to recall their past, their years in the desert. But it was also a looking to the future, since the saying was that the time of the Messiah, the future kingdom, would be a continuous "feast of shelters."


  1. The prophet Zechariah had announced that at the time of the Messiah all people would gather in Jerusalem to celebrate together the "feast of shelters”. Peter, by preparing to build three shelters, is referring to the symbolic meaning of the huts. He is convinced that the Kingdom of God has come, a time of rest and perennial feasting promised by the prophets.


  1. Peter reveals how little he had understood what was happening. Mark remarks: "He did not know what to say; they were so frightened" (6).


  1. The main message of this passage is exactly at this level: it is necessary to undergo death in order to restore the Kingdom that Jesus allows his disciples to glimpse at his transfiguration.


  1. There are no short-cuts regarding the entrance to the Kingdom of God as Peter would like. All Jesus' disciples must follow him along the path he trod. It was only little by little that the disciples discovered the true identity of the Messiah. The resurrection will ultimately throw light on all the words.


  1. Lent is a time for letting go and these readings make the point very well. If we are to come to know God and the meaning of real love, then we must learn to let go of our certainties and insisting on having things our own way.


  1. Abraham and Jesus both learned to entrust everything into the hands of God the Father, even when this appeared to lead to the end of everything they had hoped for.


  1. God in Jesus would have us understand that he is with us in every moment of our lives and each moment, whether at the top of the mountain or in Gethsemane, is sacred.
  2. If we are to understand this, we must develop the art of doing what the Father has asked us and that is the art of listening, really listening to his Son.


  1. Every transformation; every transfiguration requires the ending; the death of the old so that we also may walk with Jesus on the road to the glory of the resurrection.