Feb. 21 2024

Scripture reflection for Feb. 25, Second Sunday of Lent

byJem Sullivan

A view of the sanctuary ceiling detailing the Transfiguration inside St. Ann Church in Coppell, Texas. CNS photo/Mark Pattison

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Gn 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18

Ps 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19

Rom 8:31b-34

Mk 9:2-10

Lent is a graced time for spiritual transfiguration. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church notes, "the Transfiguration 'is the sacrament of the second regeneration': our own Resurrection." The Gospel account of the Lord's transfiguration invites reflection on this momentous event in Jesus' earthly life and our participation in this event.

When Jesus tells his disciples he will suffer greatly, be killed, and then raised on the third day, a shadow of doubt marks the disciples' act of faith. They must learn to see with eyes of faith what their minds and hearts cannot imagine or understand. Jesus' transfiguration becomes a mysterious glimpse, a foretaste of the Lord's future and glorious resurrection.

Jesus took the apostles Peter, James, and John to a mountain where he was transfigured before their amazed eyes. Jesus is bathed in brilliant heavenly light while Moses and Elijah appear on either side of his radiant form. A heavenly voice from the clouds declares Jesus as the Son of God.

Why does Jesus show himself in transfigured form? At his Transfiguration, Jesus sows seeds of hope in the hearts and minds of the disciples. And Jesus is removing the horror of the crucifixion from the disciples' hearts. To prevent their faith from being understandably disturbed by the humiliation of his passion, Jesus offers a foretaste of his glorified body.

Jesus shone the radiant light of faith, hope, and love into the hearts and minds of his disciples. God's word invites us to the same "life transfigured by the Holy Spirit." And the graces of the Lenten season invite a renewal in the new life in Jesus we received at baptism.

Faith in Jesus, the Son of God, opens a life of hope in God's love and mercy. We are given a new way of seeing the world. After the experience of Jesus' transfiguration, the disciples gradually begin to see and to understand, with eyes of faith, the saving gift of Jesus' suffering, death, and resurrection. And they receive the grace to see, in faith, their own participation in his paschal mystery.

Faith in Jesus transforms life. Our Lord's transfiguration transforms the disciples' hearts and minds. And He desires to transfigure our lives, too, if we are open and humbly approach Jesus in faith as we pray, "speak to me, Lord."

Question: How do I experience the Lord's transfiguration in my life?

- Jem Sullivan holds a doctorate in religious education and is an associate professor of Catechetics in the School of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.