(A biblical refection on THE SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT [YEAR A] – 12 March 2017)
Gospel Reading: Matthew 17:1-9
First Reading: Genesis 12:1-4a; Psalms: Psalm 33:4-5,18-19,20,22; Second Reading: 2 Timothy 1:8b-10
And after six days Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart. And He was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with Him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is well that we are here; if You wish, I will make three booths here, one for You and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking, when lo, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces, and were filled with awe. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no on but Jesus only.
And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.” (Matthew 17:1-9 RSV)
Spiritual journey is a common expression used to refer to one’s religious life. From the French language, jour (day), it describes one’s daily progress in walking with the Lord and each other as a woman or man of faith. The word “journal”, also from the same root, means a daily record of events. Each person’s journey is unique and must always be treated as such. We have different times of beginning and ending, and a lifetime of varieties in between. The important similarity of all journeys is that we move through life according to the same measured pace of time. We know that change is inevitable and that we are subject to it, willingly or otherwise.
We can appreciate the unwavering faith of Abraham in the first reading, as he obeys the call of his God to leave behind his father’s house and native land, to journey into the uncharted future, into a totally new type of life. We increase our admiration when we realize that he was 75 years old at that time.
Abraham is for us an inspiring model of faith, who was willing to trust God completely by letting go of earthly securities, as he ventured out of what is currently Iraq to Palestine. There, he was given a new name and became the father of a new nation and a new religion. Because of Abraham, we should never say or even think that we are too old to make a change for the better.
Another type of spiritual journey occurs in today’s Gospel, in the lives of three chosen apostles. They climb up a high mountain with the Master and, once on top, soar into ecstasy as they behold the transfigured Savior conversing with Moses and Elijah. Their doubts are for the time being removed, for they have seen the glory of the Lord. It was a mystical journey into the brilliance of paradise.
God promises this same reward to any of us willing to abandon the safe place and familiar faces for a faith-filled journey into the night of the unknown. An act of simple trust is the first step that will bring us face to face with the transfigured Jesus.
The season of Lent is a constant reminder of our invitation from the Master to always seek the better life. We hear the Church reassuring all pilgrim people that their efforts are far outweighed by the divine glory to be gained. The stories presented in today’s liturgy are not meant to glorify Abraham or the Apostles, but to make us believe that these grace-filled adventures can also be ours. Our journeys can all have happy endings, provided we are willing to venture forth each day with trusting faith.
Short Prayer: Lord Jesus, from Your transfiguration, You teach me that my spiritual journey can have a happy ending, provided I am willing to venture forth each day with an unwavering and trusting faith in You. Amen.
Jakarta, 10 March 2016
A Christian Pilgrim