Sunday 1st March
2nd Sunday of Lent
10.30am Ordinariate Mass at Hockley
Celebrant: Fr. Jeff Woolnough
What is the call of the mountain?
On this second Sunday of Lent we hear the account of the Transfiguration according to the Gospel of Mark.
“Transform us as you transfigured.” Transform and transfigure are very similar words.
Transfigure is external, transform can have a connotation of internal change. This line also makes me ask the question, who was the “event” of the Transfiguration for? An argument could be made that it was for Jesus especially when we read the version from Luke. Luke tells us of the conversation between Moses, Elijah and Jesus being about his Exodus, the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus about to take place. But then why bring Peter, James and John with him? They were apparently really tired; however, Jesus wanted them to witness his glorification. He wanted to give them hope over the coming weeks but also to invite them into his glorification.
Remember what happens when they come down off the mountain? They meet up with the other disciples who were not able to exorcise the demon. In the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, Jesus gets perturbed. It seems he is saying, what do you mean you can’t do it? Don’t you get it yet? He was sending the apostles out but they had not been transformed, changed in their being, to a state of belief that would allow them to exorcise the demon. The Transfiguration is, among many other things, an invitation to us for transformation. So how do we answer that invitation?
First, we must acknowledge that we cannot transform ourselves. Jesus is the only one who can transform us. We can only be open to being transformed. The reading from Genesis has a key to help us be open. The messenger from God tells Abraham:
“… because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your beloved son, I will bless you abundantly . . .”
I hear in this phrase the question, what do I withhold from God that could get in the way of transformation? Said differently, what do I hold on to, what am I attached to, what is binding me? Is this not the call of the Lenten season? To become aware of and let go of all that gets in the way of our relationship with God? To let go of what prevents us of being transformed?
As we enter the heart of the Lenten season, let’s take some time to reflect on how Jesus is calling us to transformation and ask ourselves, what are we withholding from God? What is keeping us from being open to the love of Christ which will transform us if we let it?
With my love and prayers as ever
Your priest and friend