2nd Sun Lent C
The Commentaries Summarised
As a Church we are in a web of wisdom that comes to us both from tradition and contemporary writers. This section offers a summary of some commentaries on the Gospel. Also below is a list of the books and articles that have been consulted in compiling this Sunday's "Pray As You Can" and which could be used for further reading.
This Sunday's Commentary
Each of the Synoptic Gospels tells the story of the Transfiguration. Though there is a remarkable similarity between the accounts, the subtle differences alert us to the particular understanding of the writer. Towards the end of his Galilean ministry, Luke has the scene of Transfiguration sandwiched between Jesus’ first two predictions concerning his Passion and Resurrection.
Luke places this experience within the context of prayer as he does with significant moments in Jesus’ life. While at prayer on the mountain Moses and Elijah, two of the most extraordinary people in Jewish History, appear with him. Moses led the people out of slavery through the Red Sea, around the desert and to the edge of the Promised Land. For decades, he shepherded this difficult people through all their rebellions and disgruntlement. Faithful to God and to his people, it was to him that God entrusted the Law that was to shape the Jewish people. Elijah was the great prophet that confronted the kings and people of God when they deserted God to worship the local idols. Both Elijah and Moses suffered at the hands of the people they tried to serve, both ‘saw the face of God’, both had mysterious deaths. And here on the mountain they discuss with Jesus his ‘passing’, his exodus through suffering and death to Resurrection. In the midst of glory, the depths of Jesus’ ignominy are faced.
The disciples are clearly overcome by this experience of glory. Firstly, sleep overtakes them. When wakening, Peter blathers the first thing that comes to mind: he wants to stay, to keep this glorious moment alive. In suggesting three tents, he thinks that Jesus is another great leader like Moses and Elijah. Then when the cloud covers them they are filled with fear, which was probably closer to awe than to terror. Now the Father’s voice teaches them the proper response to his Son: ‘This is my Son, my chosen, listen to him!’
The Transfiguration scene operates as a turning point in the Gospel. As Jesus moves from Galilee to Jerusalem, the meaning of who he is and the means by which he will offer salvation is revealed to these three disciples in one overwhelming experience. In a real sense it offers a lens through which they can understand who the person of Jesus is for them.