Second Sunday of Lent

March 8, 2022 | By Bishop Roy E. Campbell, Jr.

“His face changed in appearance and His clothing became dazzling white.”

On Mount Tabor, Peter, James, and John see Jesus in His glorified body, as it will be after His resurrection from the dead. Before going up the mountain, Jesus had told His disciples for the first time that He must suffer and die. Now, Jesus’ transfiguration is truly a dazzling contrast to the message of suffering and humiliation that He must endure.

Jesus is showing His disciples, what He is also showing us this Lent, that we must accept the two extremes of His earthly mission. That is, we must accept His human suffering and humiliation, believing in His resurrected glory of the Transfiguration. That also means that we must accept our own human suffering and humiliation, in order to receive a share in the glory of Jesus’ divine life that we see in His transfiguration.

Moses and Elijah, two key Old Testament figures, appeared with Jesus. Moses was the Lawgiver of God to the Israelites. Elijah was considered a great prophet of God. Their appearance and conversation with Jesus show us that our Lord is the fulfillment of the law and prophets for His people. Abraham shared in the first covenant of God with His people. Moses brought God’s people His second covenant in the Ten Commandments. Jesus is our new law and new covenant with God, the fulfillment of His love for us.

Peter, James, and John did not understand what was happening before their very eyes. Peter said, “‘Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ But he did not know what he was saying.” Peter wanted to build earthly tents for heavenly beings. By pitching tents, the disciples, in effect, wanted to stay on the mountain, keeping the glory of Jesus for themselves. They had yet to realize that to live in Jesus’ glory means that they must also suffer, as He would suffer, by proclaiming the Gospel, carrying Jesus’ mission of salvation to all people.

We also have that mission to take Jesus’ Gospel of salvation to all people. We prepare for our mission this Lent by contritely opening our hearts to Him, asking for forgiveness, and praying that Jesus fills our hearts will His unconditional love. When we accept His love with contrite hearts, we will show our unconditional love for Jesus, through our earthly sufferings in carrying His mission of salvation to others with that same unconditional love.

– Bp. Roy Campbell

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