On this Second Sunday of Lent, we hear of the event in the life of Christ and his disciples known as “The Transfiguration.” I was reminded through a reflection by Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio, PH.D. that one of the biblical titles for God, “El Shaddai,” translates as “God of the Mountains.” Indeed, Sacred Scripture is replete with mountain-top encounters (Abraham, Moses and Elijah among the individuals granted such).
Now, the Transfiguration surely has a theological dimension—the vision of the glorified Christ is witnessed by Peter, James and John so that they will be strengthened to bear the scandal and ignominy of the Crucifixion. It is an explicit affirmation of the divinity of Jesus. In his reflection on this event, Dr. Ambrosio asserts that while our five senses are a wonderful gift, the deep realities of life and of God far surpass what the senses can process. On Mount Tabor, Jesus grants a glimpse of his glory to the three apostles. They see the vision and hear the voice of the Lord. They will need to recall this experience, when even after the Resurrection they face the “sweat and tears” aspects of the lofty work of discipleship.
I suggest that in addition to the theological function of the Transfiguration, it serves as an occasion for Peter, James and John fall more deeply in love with Jesus. It serves a purpose to strengthen the relationship between Jesus and his disciples. Twice within a recent single week, parishioners have told me how they clipped and saved prayers I had reprinted in my bulletin articles. Since I am not the author of these prayers, it serves as a great reminder that my best thoughts come from a source beyond myself. In that spirit, I offer the following prayer, attributed to Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ (1907-1991):
Nothing is more practical than
finding God, than
falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.