WelCom March 2023
Second Sunday of Lent – Matthew 17:1-9
1 Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. 3 And suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, and were talking with him. 4 Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, ‘Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’
5 While he was still speaking, suddenly, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him.’ 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, ‘Rise, and do not be afraid.’ 8 And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone.
9 As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus gave then this order, ‘Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.’
Shine like the sun
A reflection on Matthew 17:1-9
According to biblical commentators, the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ powerfully revealed His divine nature and His glory. That Peter, James and John were the only ones to receive this revelation prompts me to ask the question: was this because they were his favourites, or rather because only they had the eyes to see?
Mystics and poets speak of a third eye. I have read that the third eye is opened in one of three ways: when one is near death and thus totally open to God; when one has experienced trauma, and thus totally vulnerable; or through deep contemplative prayer. In other words, when we live close to God through prayer, or realise that we are not in control through suffering, we are able to see what is truly important.
My favourite mystic is Thomas Merton. In his classic work, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, he shared a vision of human solidarity that he experienced at the corner of Fourth and Walnut Street in Louisville, Kentucky, in the centre of the shopping district. He saw that he was connected to everyone everywhere; experienced an enormous outpouring of love for them and saw everyone in his path walking around shining like the sun. Imagine that!
We are living in an age of human emergency, which calls for the emergence of a new human being who sees the Earth and all humanity as sacred, shining like the sun; the way that Peter, James and John saw Jesus; the way that Thomas Merton saw the throng of people crossing a busy street. Then everyone everywhere could make the changes necessary to make it possible for every person to have what they need to live a decent life on this Earth, God’s sacred gift to us.