February 28: Second Sunday of Lent Year C
Readings: Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18; Philippians 3:17-4:1; Luke 9:28-36
Last Sunday we focused on the desert as one image that helps us to understand the meaning of Lent. We were guided by the example of Jesus in the desert, where He is tempted by the Devil. Jesus overcomes all those temptations. This Sunday the image of a mountain further elaborates meaning of Lent as a period of an ongoing transfiguration (a mountain experience), whereby we are transformed before the glory of Christ. Mountains are important for our global ecosystem. They are also important for our "spiritual ecosystem" where we go as it were to inhale the breath of God. The Bible is full of images of mountain experiences, each bearing a particular aspect of God’s revelation and growth in faith. This Sunday the readings focus on such mountain experiences. In the first reading, God takes Abram outside where He can reveal His covenant of blessings, descendants and prosperity. The covenant with Abram is sealed in the context of a sacrifice as Abram is transfigured in the presence of the Lord. “When the sun had set and it was dark, ...the Lord made a covenant with Abram.” Abram puts his faith in the Lord, and therefore God affirms His covenant of future blessings and glory. Paul in the second reading is about another “mountain experience”: our final transformation. That is why Paul urges us to become deeply aware of the purpose of our life and to trust in God’s promises in Christ, because “Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” who will transform our bodies into his own image. Paul concludes by appealing that we remain faithful in the Lord to the end; that we keep our covenant made with God at Baptism.
In the Gospel, Luke leads us into our third mountain experience, a real one on Mount Tabor the account of the transfiguration. Luke links this experience to the paschal mystery of Christ. "Jesus took with him Peter and John and James and went up the mountain to pray. While he was praying, his face changed...". Luke in this account underlines the link between the passion and the transfiguration; the difficult journey towards Jerusalem and Jesus' entry into glory in the resurrection. Perhaps it is important here to make a link between our mountain experiences and valley experiences. If you have ever climbed a mountain, you had a breath-taking experience on the top. Like Peter in the Gospel, it was wonderful being there and wished that the experience would last more. Climbing down into the plain or valley is our ordinary day to day life experience, where we exhale the breath of Christ, as we give witness to Christ. The Lenten season is like a valley experience where the suffering of Jesus point to His mountain experience in the resurrection. The transfiguration takes place as Jesus enters into prayer before the Father, to reflect on the purpose of His mission and ultimate destiny. Lent is a period when we reflect on the goal of our life, namely our own final transfiguration. Three points sum up the mesage of this Sunday?1) During this Lenten season, God is taking us outside like Abraham to offer us a mountain experience whereby God talks to us to reveal His blessings to us. 2) During this Lenten season, like Jesus we must find moments of prayer, moments of mountain experience to inhale the breath of Christ; his Spirit; 3) Like the 3 apostle we need to accept to go down into the valley where we exhale the breath of Christ in our day to day witness.
©2010 John S. Mbinda