Homily for the second Sunday of Lent - Year C - Lk. 9:28-36
Father Daniel Meynen
"Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white. And behold, two men talked with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, and when they wakened they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah" -- not knowing what he said. As he said this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!" And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silence and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen."
"Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white. And behold, two men talked with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem."
On this second Sunday of Lent, the Church invites us to contemplate the mystery of the Transfiguration of the Lord Jesus. It is an important stage. It is a privileged moment which prepares us to relive the Passion of Christ at the time of the Great Week: Holy Week, that which comes to a close on Easter Sunday. For at the time of the Transfiguration, Jesus appears in Glory, that is to say in that state of beatitude and happiness which is that of Christ, and that of all the elect who live in him. Now, if Jesus appears in Glory, and if his disciples see him in this sublime state, it is precisely so that these same disciples may be comforted by this celestial vision before passing through the tragic test of the Passion of the Savior.
"Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, and when they wakened they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him."
It is a strange thing, this sleep that returns every time that an important event in the lives of the elect of God is about to take place! For, when God decided to create the first woman, he "caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh." (Gen. 2:21) Also, it was while they slept that God spoke to many important people of the Old Covenant: Jacob, Joseph, Samuel, to name a few. It was also during sleep that Joseph, the spouse of Mary, received from the Angel the revelation of the mystery of the Incarnation. But, what relates directly to the mystery of the Transfiguration is the sleep that fell upon the very same three apostles: Peter, James, and John, at the time of the Agony of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Indeed, after having prayed to his Father, Jesus said to Peter: "Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour?" (Mk. 14:37) Truly, sleep is important in the life of a Christian, because the eternal life to which he is called consists precisely in rest and residing in God...
"As he said this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, 'This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!'"
Eternal life consists in resting in God! It is good to remember this truth: it should give us the courage and the strength to persevere despite the difficulties of our present life! And on the way to his Passion, Jesus received for himself and for his disciples this encouragement from Heaven: the voice of Father was heard in the cloud! For God speaks to us! And his Word is Jesus himself. For all eternity, we shall listen to this divine Word that makes us infinitely happy. What Saint Paul lived on earth for one instant, we shall live for eternity! This Apostle said, speaking of himself: "I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven... And I know that this man was caught up into Paradise... and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter." (2 Cor. 12:2-4) "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." (Deut. 8:3)
"They kept silence and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen."
What the disciples of Jesus saw and heard on that day was an anticipation of the Resurrection of Christ. In advance, and to comfort them before the moment of his Passion, Jesus allowed his disciples to enjoy a few instants of the divine glory that is his own. Also, it was not acceptable to speak of it as long as Christ had not yet returned to life. Saint Matthew relates the following words of Jesus to his disciples: "Tell no one the vision, until the Son of man is raised from the dead." (Mt. 17:9)
Today, we too shall see, with the eyes of faith, the glory of the Resurrection of the Savior: today, during the celebration of the Eucharist, we are going to contemplate Jesus in his sacrament, seeing him, through faith, as he is now, in the glory of Heaven! So, already comforted by his Resurrection, we shall be able to participate joyously in his Sacrifice of Calvary: we are going to proclaim the Death of Christ in the expectation of our own Resurrection in the end times! May Mary, who was present at the foot of the Cross, while having within her, through faith, the fullness of the Spirit of God, come to help us today and always!