Sunday Reflections- Second Week of Lent
Lent is a time to be a transformer, a time for a radical transformation. It is a time to let our way of thinking be transformed. But we might also consider the gospel story this week as the story of the non-transformation of Peter. Peter’s response to the events in the gospel shows us at least in two ways that he was still tied to an old way of thinking. First, he thinks that Jesus, Moses, and Elijah are in need of some sort of shelter. Second, Peter wants to camp out on the mountain of the transfiguration rather than make the long journey to Jerusalem, where the true glory of Jesus will shine even more brightly on the Cross.
Have you ever noticed how often Jesus goes up the mountain to pray? I suppose it is no wonder, that in Scripture, the mountain is God’s reserved place, so through the prophets God railed against faithless Israel for worshipping false gods in high places. The most important high mountain in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) for the worship of the true God would become Mount Sinai, where God appeared to Moses and later Elijah; and Mount Zion, site of Jerusalem and its great Temple. All of these places became the prime sites for Israel’s encounters with God.
Interestingly, people still seem to choose high mountains as retreat places of prayer. Still, these types of high places can endanger complacency. IN the gospel, Jesus takes three closest friends to the mountaintop and there reveal to them more truth than they can bear. On Mount Tabor, Jesus speaks to Moses (voice of the law); to Elijah (voice of the prophets); and Jesus is bathed in blinding light. Jesus then warns them not to saying anything, because his time had not yet come, his mission was yet to be fulfilled. This was so, because between the Transfiguration on one mountain and the ascension from another lie the Mount of Olives, the site of Jesus’ Agony, and Mount Calvary, the site of Jesus’ Death. And yet, only the resurrection can reconcile all these various mountain revelations into one reality of Jesus Christ; dead, risen, and forever robed in unimaginable glory at God’s right hand.
This week, I would like to share a few reflections of the “Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth.” Jesus once again for us climbs that Holy Mountain to teach us and to show us just how much he loves us. The gospel shows us how the Liturgy of the Word prepares us for that profound and moment of awe and wonder at the revelation of Jesus made present in the Transfigured and transformed bread and wine. In our celebration of the Liturgy of the Word before the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we are not only following the biblical command of Christ, but also of the example he gives us. We all recall the story of the road to Emmaus, where two of Jesus’ followers walking from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus meet the transfigured and resurrected Christ on the way, but in their grief and confusion over his death, they fail to recognize him. Upon arrival he desires to share a meal with them, but again this is no ordinary meal, in fact, Luke uses precisely the same words used in his Last Supper Narrative, “At table, Jesus takes, blesses, breaks, and gives the bread to his two companions on this new journey. We see how the Word of God is interpreted in light of the gospel and how all of salvation history, from Moses through the prophets, which includes Elijah, led to the events in Jesus life, those events that his disciples just witnessed.
This is what happens with us, and like them, we approach the altar, the mountain of the Lord, the Eucharistic Table, and in the breaking of the bread we are brought into communion with the very mysteries of salvation, and we make that profession of faith, “Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.” May our participation in the Eucharist this week transform us and our way of thinking so that as Jesus reveals himself to us, we may acknowledge that we too are taking part in the history of salvation……….JMJ……..Fr. Bob.