Reflection for the Vigil of the Second Sunday of Lent

March 16th, 2014

by Micaela Randolph, OSB

The Transfiguration of Jesus.  We have heard that Gospel over and over, year after year.  We know how the story begins and how it ends.  Being so familiar with a particular Gospel can be a detriment. We ask. “What new message could we possibly receive?  What new and deeper meaning could there be for our spiritual healing?”

Through my participation in the Retreat in Daily life, I have been encouraged by Benedicta and Jan to enter deeply and personally into the scriptures.  “Insert yourself into the story,” they say.  “Be there with Jesus and listen to what he says to you.  Look at him and let his gaze fall on you, penetrate you. Come to a deeper knowing of Jesus and of yourself.”  

So I decided to follow their lead.  It happened this way:

It was a quiet day and I was taking a walk, wanting to reflect on some of the challenges in my life. As I walked, I met Jesus and three of his friends, Peter, James, and John.  Jesus stopped, as he often does, looked at me and asked me to go with him up to the mountain to pray.   My heart quickened.  I hesitated.  I felt unsure. Climbing a mountain would be quite strenuous.  He kept encouraging me to come and so I joined him.

We began climbing up this high, rough mountain.  It was hot and windy. The terrain was rocky and uneven.  Jesus was steady as he moved ahead of us. Peter, James, and John seemed anxious and were talking softly. Then I remembered that it was just six days ago when Jesus talked about suffering. I remembered Jesus saying to the crowd that day, “Whoever wishes to follow me must deny themselves, take up their cross and follow me.” Maybe the three were concerned about that.  I know that I had given it some thought myself!  

I arrived at the top of the mountain right behind Jesus.  I was tired and exhausted.  I sat down to rest.  Then Jesus turned around and looked at me with love.  And suddenly his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as snow. Jesus was totally ablaze in light. It seemed to come from within him.   I could not look.   Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared on either side of Jesus. Then Peter said, “Let’s stay here.  We will make three tents, one for you, Jesus, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”   I couldn’t believe that Peter was speaking to Jesus at a time like this.  But before he even finished, a powerful voice came from the heavens.  “This is my Beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; Listen to Him.”   Everything became very still.  What had just happened?  What had just happened in me?  I was frightened and yet I felt a deep peace.   And like Peter, I did not want to leave. I wanted to savor this moment forever. 

And then Jesus was just Jesus.  He walked over to me touched me on the shoulder and said, “Do not be afraid.  Come with me down the mountain but do not tell anyone about this”.  Impossible!  How could I not share this moment with others?  I would have had to be mute!   But as we made our way down the mountain, Jesus looked at me said, “You, too, are the beloved with whom my Father is well pleased.  You do not need to tell anyone about this, just live as the beloved.”  Live as the beloved!

The Transfiguration of Jesus foreshadows our own Transfiguration and just as Jesus came down the mountain and took up his cross, we, too, must come down the mountain of our lives and do the same. This is a pivotal moment for Jesus and for us.  Jesus became a witness to the glory and goodness of God. Transfigured, we, too, go forth to be witnesses to God’s glory. Transfigured, we go forth to be Christ in the world. Transfigured, we go forth with an assurance  that we too, glow with a new realization of our own paschal mystery, our living, our dying and our rising in Christ Jesus.

Several years ago, a retreatant wrote a reflection on this gospel.  I wish to share it with you.                   

Transfigured

 Tell no one, He said.
Words define, words limit.
I am beyond words.

Tell no one, He said.
They will honor me with great buildings.
I am beyond walls.

Tell no one, He said.
Others will dispute you and claim me for their own.
I am beyond possession.

Tell no one, he said.
Each must climb the mountain alone.
And meet me there.

Tell no one, He said.
I will return with you down the mountain.
And your life will be the telling.