Second Sunday of Lent

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Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.

As I was reading the Gospel for today, I was wondering why it’s also the reading for the Feast of the Transfiguration which we celebrate in August each year. Then I began to understand how wise it is for the church to also proclaim it during this season of Lent.

We’re all familiar with the image of Jesus, Moses and Elijah talking together on a mountain, aglow with dazzling, terrifying light. We aren’t privileged to know what was said, but we are privileged to know that this revelation of Jesus’ connection with these powerful prophets is a turning-point for the faith of the disciples. Earlier, the disciples knew Jesus as a Rabbi and healer – from this time on, they would realize his divinity. It would make all the difference.

How do we see Peter’s vision in our times? Some superficial thoughts – I’d like to think that we believers can truly understand that we live within a spiritual tradition whose insights began in prehistory, and developed in Judaism through the prophets, law-givers and wisdom keepers to its expression of Jesus’ transcendent vision of goodness, justice and merciful love through the apostles and martyrs of early Christianity into our present times. Moses, Elijah and Jesus revisited and updated: a continuous chain of God’s presence in the world.

But maybe more importantly, as scripture states – and thanks be to God during this season of Lent – we are reminded of witnesses who, terrified or not, had a life-changing vision of the glory of God. And they saw that Life continues outside the confines of what we know as time and space. May our sense of wonder – and our hope and trust in the promises of God grow as theirs did.

Dorothy A. Hathway