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THINGS TO PONDER  


 

Things to Ponder

 I use this page to share messages of an inspirational nature, or simply something to ponder. It is my hope that you will  always be inspired.


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Homily Reflections Based on Mark 9:2-10 - Second Sunday of Lent
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Introduction: Transfiguration: A New Being

On the Second Sunday of Lent, the Gospel reading always proclaims each year the story of Jesus’ Transfiguration. In Mark’s Gospel – similar to both Matthew’s and Luke’s reports – Jesus takes three of his disciples—Peter, James, and John—the leadership team – to a high mountain (Mt. Tabor). While they are there, Elijah and Moses appear with Jesus and actually converse with him. The appearance of these two important figures from Israel’s history with Jesus signifies Jesus’ continuity with the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah).

In the disciples’ presence, Jesus is “transfigured … and his clothes became dazzling white” – which indicates not just a change in physical appearance but a changed state of being. Mark conveys this sense of a new beginning—a new creation—when he also describes God’s voice saying to Jesus the  very same words  he spoke at the moment of baptism: “This is my beloved Son.” And by emphasizing that Jesus’ clothing is “dazzling white,” Mark links Jesus to Malachi’s prophet of the end times: “he is like the refiner’s fire.” (Mal. 3:1-3)

Peter’s desire to build three tents (or booths) may seem puzzling at first unless one is aware of the Jewish Feast of Booths – an annual feast to celebrate the natural harvest as a sign of God’s final harvest. In short, it is a sacred feast of the end time. Mark reports that Peter wanted to build three booths on the mountaintop as their entry to the end time of God’s final kingdom. The disciples didn’t want to leave their “mountaintop experience” as is implied by Peter’s words: “Rabbi, it is good that we are here!” Or today: “Rabbi, do we have to leave?”


It is important to note that the phrase “they were so terrified” is better translated by “they were filled with awe” - for Mark intended to signal awe rather than fright. Peter’s feeling of goodness is compatible with awe but not with terror. We could perhaps hear Peter now: “Rabbi, this is awesome!”

Mark closes his Gospel account with the perhaps sad (depressing?) descent from the mountaintop. The vision of future glory fades abruptly. Their descent is not only physical but spiritual. They have returned from a brief moment of insight to their usual state of dulled understanding – and to their daily routines. Would they even remember those glorious insights when the “going got tough?”

For Mark only, the Transfiguration account is carefully placed exactly in the middle of his Gospel – for the transfiguration of Jesus is his way of imaging Jesus’ resurrection, an event that will shatter the world’s expectations and fill all disciples with awe!

I would invite you to take time to read and ponder the words from the Gospel of Mark 9:2-10.

What word or words caught your attention?
What in this passage comforted you?
What in this passage challenged you?
“It is good to be here.” Name that time for you.

Further Questions and Reflections:

Going up the mountain had its rough moments for the disciples, but the view was worthwhile: the glory of Jesus and the invitation of God. This is the same for us in our discipleship.

Our faith journey can often feel like a long mountain walk! We may wonder at times is it worth it? Do we have the stamina to keep walking? Have you ever experienced this feeling? How did you handle it?

In our own journey to God, we have peak moments, when the ground is holy. Like Peter, we want them to last forever. But Jesus brings us down the mountain and prepares us for the hard times ahead – living on the memory of brief transfigurations. Can you recall any of your “peak moments?”

Prayer moments may often be “transfiguration moments” when we glimpse the beauty of Jesus and commit ourselves to “listen to him.” Am I willing to “work hard” in my prayer life?

Deacon David



Deacon David Suley
St. Patrick Catholic Church
Rockville, Maryland

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