An Event to Desire

The Second Sunday of Lent talks about God’s call to faith and obedience. Lent is “cuaresma”, a season when the three traditional practices are to be done with renewed vigor and intensity: prayer (justice towards God), fasting (justice towards self), almsgiving (justice towards neighbor).

In the first reading, Abraham’s faith was tested when God asked him to offer his only son Isaac as an offering. Difficult as it was, Abraham was obedient to God’s call: he didn’t hold back his only son. His deep faith in God didn’t make him doubt. He was firm in his resolve to obey God’s order. As he was about to strike Isaac, the angel of Yahweh stopped him from proceeding with the offering as God saw his deep faith. Yahweh was so pleased with Abraham that He made him the father of many nations.

The Gospel reading tells us the story of the Transfiguration. Our Lord Jesus Christ went with Peter, James and John to a high mountain. There, Jesus was changed “before their very eyes, even His clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them”. Then the prophets Moses and Elijah appeared. After this, Peter, being terrified and hardly knowing what to say, suggested that they build three tents, one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. (Mk. 9: 2-10).

Similarly, in our life journey, we encounter tests and trials along the way. In the prior verses in the Gospel of St. Mark, our Lord foretold His passion and death, and then exhorted His disciples to share in His sufferings. He showed them the conditions of discipleship: denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following Him.

Now, in order to encourage us to take the straight path, our Lord showed His disciples a vision, a foretaste of Heaven. St. Thomas Aquinas said that Our Lord was transfigured (“nagbagong anyo”) in order to show us His glory, and in order to arouse us to desire it. He considered the Transfiguration as “the greatest miracle” in that it complemented baptism and showed the perfection of life in Heaven. The Transfiguration is one of the five major milestones in the life of Jesus, the others being Baptism, Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension.

This Gospel narrative shows us that Jesus is not only a prophet but the Son of God, to whom God the Father said to us, “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him!”

In this Holy Season, let us continue our preparation to reconcile with the Lord and to share and reflect His light to others. This is a challenge to obey and to listen. So that in doing so, we may be able to foretell a vision of God’s unconditional love to others as well.

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