Today’s Gospel reading from Mark relates the story of the Transfiguration, when Jesus was transfigured along with Elijah and Moses before the eyes of the apostles Peter, James and John. Pretty cool story but what does it say to us during Lent? I think a few things are important.
First, most New Testament scholars say this is a post-Easter (in other words during the time from Jesus’ Resurrection to His Ascension) story which was moved into the story of Jesus’ life before His death (there could have been a variety of reasons for this- trust me).
Second, the story is a reminder that what we see is not all there is. Just as the apostles were blind to Jesus until this even, life can appear boringly normal and predictable. At times we can be frustrated with failed attempts to change, whether changing an unhealthy (physically or spiritually) habit or a self- defeating attitude. The Transfiguration reminds us that daily life is important and often we do not see everything- some parts of reality (e.g. the wounds of people with whom we work or another’s real intentions which may be good but appear evil) are hidden. Similarly parts of ourselves are shrouded in mystery, often appearing in very unpredictable ways. Life is not always as it seems.
Third, there is hope that through God we can be transformed to be a better person and see more deeply into daily life. But, unlike the Transfiguration, this transformation is neither magical nor instantaneous but a lifetime of listening, praying and trying to focus more on God. Prayer leads us to Christ who can transform us over the course of our lifetime (no instant change here!).
Finally, the story reminds us in visual form what today’s second reading from the Letter to the Romans says: “If God is for us who can be against us?” God is with us, loves us and offers grace to slowly heal our lives to be closer to God. Perhaps this week ask ourselves where we need transformation and begin asking the Holy Spirit for help? Then listen!
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