GOD WANTS US TO EXPERIENCE THE SAME COMPASSION HE HAD FOR JESUS
(A biblical reflection on THE SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT [YEAR B], 28 February 2021)
Gospel Reading: Mark 9:2-10
First Reading: Genesis 22:1-2,9-10,13,15-18; Psalms: Psalm 116:10,15-19; Second Reading: Romans 8:31-34
The Scripture Text
And after six days Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves; and He was transfigured before them, and His garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses; and they were talking to Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were exceedingly afraid. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is My beloved Son; listen to Him.” And suddenly looking around they no longer saw any one with them but Jesus only.
And as they were coming down the mountain, He charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of man should have risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what the rising from the dead meant.(Mark 9:2-10 RSV)
What was the motivation of Jesus to climb the mountain of transfiguration? Why would He take Peter, James, and John away for this brief interlude of prayer when He was so busy in His ministry? Jesus wanted to seek His Father’s face. Jesus had just revealed the mystery of His death to His apostles and was about to begin His final journey to Jerusalem, where He would be mocked, beaten, and crucified (See Mark 8:31; 10:32-34). Jesus was at a point in His ministry where He needed assurance from His Father in heaven.
God responded to Jesus’ prayer in the transfiguration. Yes, Jesus must die. But He would be raised up in glory, and all creation would be renewed in Him. He would shine with the Father’s glory, and His love would be poured out to all the world. Moses, the lawgiver, saw the law that would be written upon the hearts of the people. Elijah, the prophet of God, saw the one who would speak God’s still, small voice into human hearts. Seeing Jesus glorified, these servants of the Lord rejoiced that the fulfillment of God’s promises was at hand.
God wants us to experience the same compassion He had for Jesus. Everything is in His hands, and can trust Him completely. Consider Abraham’s anguish as he ascended the mountain to sacrifice Isaac, his only son, for whom he had prayed so long. How would Sarah ever understand? Still, Abraham went forward, trusting – and discovering – that a greater glory would come (see Genesis 22:1-18).
Abraham’s story and the transfiguration show that glory always comes when we accept God’s provision for us. God allows many things to occur that we may have a hard time understanding – a hard day, a difficult relationship, or even a sudden death in the family. In these times, we can cry out to God, trusting Paul’s words: “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also give us all things with Him” (Romans 8:32). God wants us to cooperate with His plan for us and so experience victory in Him.
Prayer: Holy and Almighty God, in Your fatherly love, work in our lives. Prepare us for the glory that will be ours when Your Son returns. During this Lenten Season, help us to surrender any ways that oppose Your perfect plan. Thank You, Lord. Amen.
Jakarta, 27 February 2021
A Christian Pilgrim