SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT
MARK 9: 2 – 10
Lord, who can grasp all the wealth of just one of your words?
What we understand in the Bible is much less than what we leave behind,
like thirsty people who drink from a fountain.
When Mark began writing the Transfiguration his intention was not to give us a detailed account of what actually took place. His intention was to bring his community and us into a deeper relationship with Jesus.
Michael Fallon tells us, “It is rarely possible to go behind the highly dramatised portraits of the gospel to discover, with any precision, the historical events that lie behind them. The gospels were simply not written to answer our modern interest in establishing exact historical data.”
As you read today’s text please be aware of the high degree of symbolism that is being used. Be on the lookout for it. Take nothing for granted.
Here is an example:
“After six days …” reminds us of creation. Jesus is busy with a new creation at this moment in our lives. We are NOW being offered a special grace. This links with the opening words of the Gospel, “The beginning”. Mark is reminding us that God is at work in Jesus just as he is at work in us.
We need to enter into the story both as the story of Jesus and his disciples, as well as, our story.
TIME TO READ THE PASSAGE SEVERAL TIMES SLOWLY ABSORBING THE WORD OF GOD.
* * * * * *
Peter, James and John are specially chosen to accompany Jesus on this occasion as well as at the “Raising of Jairus’ daughter” and during “Jesus agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.” These incidents give an insight into Jesus spirituality and into ours.
The Transfiguration is placed in the middle and is, therefore, the most important.
What title would you give to today’s text? Take time to find your own title which reflects your insight into the story.
* * * * * *
Here are my findings:
TRANSFIGURATION – A JOURNEY OF CHANGE – NEW CREATION
Peter, James, John
Pause for a few minutes, entering into the scene, using your imagination. First, identify with Jesus, then move on to one of the disciples, finally imagine this impacting on your life.
* * * * * *
In this encounter with this word, it is essential that we concentrate our attention on the text, not allowing ourselves to be distracted by past ‘photographs’ of what happened.
Mark is very fond of using a sandwich structure (chiastic structure). This will help clarify our understanding of the text. This is illustrated below.
Focus on how Mark 9: 2 – 10 reflects your spirituality.
how the first part is mirrored in the second half with the key message (the most important part) placed in the middle.
2Six days later,
10They observed the warning faithfully, though among themselves they discussed what ‘rising from the dead’ could mean.
A – A’
We are framed by the presence. “On a mountain” means in the presence of God. Be aware of how profoundly present God is to you at this very moment. You are being taken up a “high mountain”.
Enter into God’s presence. Remain silent as you become more aware of your God.
* * *
B – B’
There are times when we experience the presence of God deeply in our lives; during a particularly beautiful liturgy or at a time of great loss.
Give thanks for such occasions. Know too, that Jesus is with us, as one of us, and it is during these times that we are most conscious of his and our friendship. “I call you friend” may echo in your ears. “Jesus, I call you friend.”
* * *
C – C’
The source of Jesus’ spirituality was the Hebrew Scriptures here represented by Moses ( THE LAW) and Elijah (THE PROPHETS)
The other dimension of his spirituality was a profound relationship with his Father. We too enjoy this same relationship.
Allow, “You are my beloved daughter/son” to fill your every being. Repeat it over and over; above all believe it.
* * *
D – D’
Peter, James and John were filled with joy and surprise when they had this God-experience. “Every encounter with the Word should be a life-giving experience.”
Respond in joy to your God – present to you NOW.
* * *
The foundation of our spiritual life is:
Jesus, Moses, Elijah?
In other words: “All scripture”.
“The Word of God is the first source of all Christian spirituality. It gives rise to a personal relationship with the living God and with his saving and sanctifying will.” John Paul II March 1996
Father take me up a high mountain so that I may come down with you. May I experience the risen Christ and, having done so, open others to the experience.
Lord, we ask you to send wise spiritual guides to your church who will help us grow in our relationship with you:
- Who will encourage us to let ourselves be led up whatever high mountain you call us to;
- Who will be part of our transfiguration experience, conversing with Jesus, Moses and Elijah;
- Who will stay with us when the cloud comes and covers us in shadows. (M de Verteuil)