Holy Transfigured

User's Guide to Sunday, Feb. 25

Johann Georg Trautmann, The Transfiguration, 1760
Johann Georg Trautmann, The Transfiguration, 1760 (photo: Register Files)

Sunday, Feb. 25, is the Second Sunday of Lent (Lent B). Mass Readings: Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18; Psalm 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19; Romans 8:31b-34; Mark 9:2-10.

Every Second Sunday of Lent during all of the three-year cycles of readings, the Church presents us with the mystery of the Transfiguration.

“Jesus took Peter, James and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them,” the Gospel of St. Mark (9:2-3) tells us.

The Eternal Word, God the Son, came into this world that we ourselves might be transfigured. The transfiguration of the Lord Jesus is not solely for his sake, but for our sake.

What was about to happen immediately after Peter, James and John experienced the Lord Jesus transfigured before them?

The passion of the Lord.

Jesus knew how weak the faith of his apostles was (and he knows how weak our faith is, as well!), so he gives them a glimpse of the glory of his Divine Nature. That must have been baffling to the disciples of the Lord.

And if the glory of the Transfigured Lord Jesus wasn’t enough for them: “Then Elijah appeared to them, along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus” (Mark 9:4).

Two of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament were before their eyes. The Gospels do not tell us that Peter, James and John heard what they were conversing about.

Let’s enter into that conversation. Read this account a few times through.

Peter, James and John were there, but now you are there, too.

Moses and Elijah were conversing with the Lord Jesus — what must this have looked like? Meditate on this scene.

Lent is a time of conversing with the Lord Jesus. Conversing with the Lord also means listening to him, as conversing and listening go hand in hand. A very wise priest once told me that 75% of any good conversation is listening.

During a conversation, there is a giving and receiving. This conversation between the Lord Jesus, Moses and Elijah can teach us something.

Primarily, our disposition toward the Lord is one of receptivity: We need to be open and docile (teachable). “What might the Lord be asking of me?” we should ask.  

Lent is about listening — obviously listening to the Lord, but also listening to the needs of those around us.

That might perhaps be something to mention the next time we go to confession — not listening enough; not being open and receptive to what the Lord is asking, as well as not always being an attentive listener to those around us.

But how do we become further transformed to more closely resemble Jesus?

The sacraments bring about this transformation — our own personal transfiguration into the likeness of the Lord Jesus.

Father John Paul Mary Zeller is a member of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word and resides in Irondale, Alabama,

the home of EWTN. He was commissioned a “missionary of mercy” by Pope Francis in 2016.

Pentecost depicted in stained glass.

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