This weekend we celebrate the Second Sunday of Lent. It is one of my favorite because each year on this Sunday, we hear one of the accounts of the Transfiguration of the Lord. This year we read from the Gospel of Luke. I decided to re-read Matthew and Mark as well. The accounts are basically the same. All have much in common. Jesus takes Peter, James and John to a high mountain where he is transfigured before them. Moses and Elijah appear. Peter states how good it is to be there and suggests that they build three tents. They are covered by a cloud and then a voice is heard. In re-reading Matthew and Mark, I noticed some differences in details as to when the disciples become frightened, what they are doing when Moses and Elijah appear, what the voice says, and why they do not tell anyone about the event. In these two accounts the disciples seem to be fully awake when Jesus is transfigured before them. In Matthew’s account, the voice says, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” In Mark’s account, the voice says, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” In both of these accounts, while coming down from the mountain, Jesus charges the disciples to tell no one. In Luke’s account, which we heard today, Peter, John, and James (not sure of the reason for the different order) are coming out of a sleep and are then fully aware of the change in appearance of Jesus who is conversing with Moses and Elijah. They become frightened when they enter the cloud and hear the voice which says, “This is my chosen Son. Listen to him.” This is the only account that uses the word chosen. After the voice is heard, Jesus is alone and the three disciples fall silent. At that time, they tell no one what they have seen. (It seems that it is their decision to tell no one). In all accounts of the transfiguration a theophany has taken place. The identity of Jesus is made clear. He is the Son of God. This is a major religious experience for Peter, James, and John. Sometimes we have been part of significant experiences that we just can’t explain to others. When they ask us about them, we simply say, “It is hard to explain. You had to be there to understand and appreciate it.” It must have taken a lot of reflection time for Peter, James and John before they could really articulate this experience.
I do hope you are planning on attending the breakfast sponsored by the Knights of Columbus today (February 21). In my announcement last weekend, I reminded you to mark the date. Proceeds from this breakfast benefit Saint John Paul II Parish. Let’s have a good showing of our parishioners in support of this breakfast!
A couple of Lenten Prayer Opportunities I would like to highlight this week are the following.
· Prayer before the Blessed Sacrament this Sunday (and all Sundays of Lent). Church is open until 3:00 PM.
· Lenten Pilgrimage of Mercy, Week II at Saint Helen Church (Christ the Good Shepherd Parish) with soup at 5:30 PM and part II of Father Bert Gohm’s presentation on Forgiveness.
· First Lenten Communal Penance Liturgy in our Vicariate: 7:00 PM, Thursday, February 25 atHoly Spirit Church in Shields
Please also note “24 Hours with the Lord” which will be celebrated in designated churches on Friday, March 4th from 12:00 Noon until 7:00 PM and Saturday, March 5th from 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM. The priests of our diocese (several at each site) will be available for the individual rite of Penance (Confession) at the churches noted in our parish bulletin and on our bulletin boards in Church. [These “24 hours” will take place at the Cathedral and in the churches under the patronage of the Sacred Heart of Jesus]. I really encourage all of us to take the opportunity during this Lenten Season and this Jubilee Year of Mercy to take part in the great sacrament of God’s compassionate love and forgiveness. Only when we come to really experience and appreciate God’s mercy in our own lives can we come to extend that mercy to others. Please note that if it has been awhile since you celebrated the individual Rite of Penance that there are pamphlets and booklets for the taking in the main entrance of the Church to help you review, understand, and prepare for the individual form of celebrating this sacrament.
Blessings on your Lenten Journey!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ