Year of Clergy and Consecrated Persons2 v3

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Transfiguration Sunday 


Second Sunday of Lent, Cycle B


1 Reading: Genesis 22: 1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
Psalm: I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.
2 Reading: Romans 8: 31b-34
Gospel: Mark 9: 2-10


From the shining cloud the Father’s voice was heard: “This is my beloved Son, listen to him.”

As we recount the Transfiguration of Jesus, someone once called this particular Sunday the "Sunday of the three mountains”. We have Abraham on Mount Moriah, the Christ on Mount Calvary and the Transfigured Christ on Mount Tabor. We are invited to climb these mountains during Lent.

Mountain climbing is hard but when we reach the top, we see things in a different way. The air is cleaner, the light is clearer; we seem closer to God and we are changed by the whole experience.

Let’s look at these three mountains. First, there is Mount Moriah. In his old age, Abraham was called by God to leave the people of the Chaldeans and go to a place God intended. Abraham followed.

Several years ago, some excavations in the area of the Chaldeans showed they were involved in child sacrifice. In the light of this, Abraham’s climbing Mount Moriah to sacrifice his son loses some of its puzzlement. God called him up the mountain to teach him in a very dramatic way that human sacrifice would never be part of fidelity to the God of life. At the top of Mount Moriah, Abraham finally and completely left behind all the old gods of the Chaldeans.

We are called during Lent to abandon the worship of the gods of our culture (when we allow the politics, the entertainment, and the cultural permissiveness of our time to direct our lives and values) and to discover again our fidelity to the one true God.

St Paul speaks about Christ’s love for us shown on Mount Calvary. During Lent, we are called to embrace more fully the love of Jesus Christ and see Him as our only Savior.

Several years ago, the Holy See issued a document on contemporary “New Age thinking” and its contrast with Christianity. One of the points the document makes is that New Age thinking is not a clearly defined school of thought, but a kind of atmosphere that surrounds and influences our thinking. New Age thinking does not see God as a personal being but as an impersonal cosmic energy to be harnessed and used. God is not beyond us. He is within us. New Age thinking sees us as somehow saving ourselves through techniques of self-fulfillment, self-realization,self-redemption rather than salvation coming from Christ's saving death and Resurrection.

To climb the Mount of Calvary is to leave this self-absorption behind and see in Jesus Christ alone, the way, the truth and the life.

Finally, there is Mount Tabor, the mountain of the Transfiguration that revealed something stupendous to the apostles. Jesus took them up a high mountain. Once there, He started to change: first His clothing, then He Himself. Then Elijah and Moses appeared. The apostles didn’t know what to say, they were taken by surprise. Then the cloud came and the voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Suddenly everything was over just as suddenly as it began.Though they didn’t fully understand it all, they looked at themselves and each other and they realized there was more to their future than they could imagine.

Three mountains -- Mount Moriah. Mount Calvary. Mount Tabor. Which one do you need to climb this Lent? Climb any one; you will find cleaner air, clearer light, come closer to God and be changed deeply.

Mount Moriah - leaving behind the gods of the past.
Mount Calvary - embracing Christ as the only Savior.
Mount Tabor - trusting the glory that will be ours in Christ.

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