Readings: Gn 15:5-12, 17-18; Phil 3:17-4:1; Lk 9:28-36
Transformation and transfiguration into Christ’s glory are the key words that help us to focus on the central point of this Sunday readings. The readings focus on the mystery of God’s action that transforms us and gives us a glimpse of future glory. In the first reading, God reaches out to Abram and through Christ to people of all nations with a covenant of blessings and prosperity. The covenant with Abram is sealed in the context of a sacrifice while Abram is transfigured in the presence of the Lord. “Now as the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep and terror seized him”. Abram puts his faith in the Lord, and therefore God affirms his covenant of future blessings and glory. Paul in the second reading urges us to become deeply aware of the purpose of our life if we trust in God’s promises in Christ, because “Our homeland is in heaven”. We must therefore look forward to the time when Christ will transform our bodies into his own image. Paul concludes by appealing that we remain faithful in the Lord to the end. This is because God “is not finished with us” but still working on us, transforming us into the best version of ourselves.
In the Gospel, Luke links the account of the transfiguration to the paschal mystery of Christ. "Jesus took with him Peter and John and James and went up the mountain to pray. As he prayed, the aspect of his face changed..." Luke in this episode underlines the link between the passion and the transfiguration; the difficult journey towards Jerusalem and Jesus' entry into glory through his death and resurrection. Jesus is transfigured because of his intimate relationship with the Father. The transfiguration takes place as Jesus enters into prayer before the Father, to reflect on his vision and the ultimate fulfillment of his mission in the world. The Gospel reminds us that we too must not forget our extraordinary mission in this world, namely our own final transfiguration. So what message do we take home this Sunday? 1) Like Abraham in the first reading, God takes us aside during this Lenten Season to speak to us, so that like Abraham our faith and trust in God may be deepened as God reveals himself to us. 2) As we continue our journey through Lent, Jesus invites us to accompany him on the mountain; a place where we too will encounter a deeper experience of his glory, and so be transformed into more effective instruments of his message 3) Like Jesus, on this mountain of prayer, we reflect and refocus on our journey, training our minds to focus on heavenly things, for “our citizenship is in heaven”. In other words, during this season of Lent we are invited to walk toward our extraordinary mission of holiness so that Christ may in the end transfigure us into his own image.
©2019 John S. Mbinda