2nd Sun Lent
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
This scene of the Gospel can be called a ‘Christophany’. The Gospel of Mark is structured around three primary events in which Jesus is proclaimed ‘Son of God’. In the first, it is by the Father to Jesus alone at the Baptism. The final one is the proclamation by the centurion beneath the cross just after Jesus has died. Here, in the Transfiguration, the proclamation is to the three disciples and it is given in a scene of glory that is unique in the Gospel of Mark as the original version of the Gospel has no scene of ‘resurrected glory’. It is significant for this Gospel that the reality of Jesus’ glory is shown not after his death but in the midst of his preaching life, his ordinary life. Though their styles may differ vastly, this is a theme Mark has in common with John.
As we have come to expect by now, Old Testament images and episodes are evoked. Moses and Elijah represent the ‘Law’ and the ‘Prophets’ – the twin pillars of Jewish faith. The ‘high mountain’ will remind the reader of God’s revelation to Moses, to the Israelites coming out of Egypt, to Elijah etc. Unlike today when we consider mountains attractive places to visit, in earlier times they were regarded with awe and if one approached it was with trepidation. In spite of, or maybe because of the glory, fear and confusion fills this scene: Peter is essentially babbling, the disciples are overcome. When Jesus warns them not to tell anyone of the scene, for once in the Gospel, his orders to silence are obeyed. Confusion in the face of the mighty works of God is an acceptable stance in the Gospel of Mark. Having our acceptable understanding of reality unhinged is a necessary step to coming to see the reality of God underpinning all existence.