Year B, Second Sunday of Lent

Take Your Only Beloved Son

March 19, 2000


Ronald D. Curley

Text: The Holy Gospel According to Saint Mark 9:2-10

(I have included verse 1 for the context)

There are many mountains in Holy Scripture.

There was the mountain of father Abraham, (the mountain of Moriah) that the "father of many nations" who would be the father of all the faithful someday, would have to climb with his son, Isaac. Abraham exhibited faith along with Isaac (Yitzak - "laughter"). It was the kind of faith that was a picture of the faithfulness of God the Father who goes forth with purpose to Jerusalem and God the Son who obeys the Father in perfect obedience.

In Isaac (Genesis 22:1-2:9, 10-13, 15-18) God had promised to raise up a seed to Abraham. Now, Isaac was the son of the promise, is called to become a sacrifice and Abraham obeys the Voice of the Lord. We have heard the story read to us this day -- and God blesses the spiritual descendents of Abraham, the father of many nations today, because of his obedience.

There was the Greater Son of Abraham who now called his disciples to another mountain, for in verse 1 Jesus had said unto them -- "Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power."

God is always faithful to his promises.

So, a few days later, Jesus took those closest to him and showed them what he meant.

2 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves; and he was transfigured before them,

3 and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them.

4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses; and they were talking to Jesus.

We love to come to those mountaintops where Jesus takes us. Elijah was there (Mt. Carmel) and Moses was there (Mt. Horeb / Sinai). Elijah was the prophet of the storm and thunder, the contemplative and prophet who dried out against "ba'al" and the idolatry of Israel. Moses was the meek prophet who proclaimed the Torah (Law), but, a greater than Moses was here in the midst of this mountaintop today.

Now, JESUS was transfigured before Peter, James and John --- Peter, the new Vicar of Christ, the voce of God for the Israel of God; and James and John, sons of thunder, great prophetic voices of the Church. Now, these were seen beholding the Son of God in power and great glory!

There has been much speculation about what Jesus, Moses and Elijah had spoken about.

What did Peter, James and John hear?

It was clear that they heard Moses and Elijah speaking of all the things they had proclaimed to Israel, desiring to look into the things that angels desire to look into, for now the time of fulfillment had come and JESUS was facing Jerusalem, and another mountain, Mount Calvary.

We must read James, Peter and John to understand what was spoken of, beloved. The Law was to be fulfilled in our most precious Lord Jesus Christ.

The Bread of Heaven came down to be offered for the sins of the world.

And in this Son of Abraham, the father of many nations, the whole world would be blessed.

Deo gratia!

St. Peter, the future Vicar spoke:

5 And Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah."

6 For he did not know what to say, for they were exceedingly afraid.

St. Peter is sometimes criticized for this statement. But, I dare say that any one of us would have said the same thing, seeing the glory of those present, because the glory of Moses and Elijah were reflective of the Light of the world, JESUS, the Word of the Father, full of grace and truth.

So, the Triune God speaks of One and as One Voice --

7 And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is my beloved Son; listen to him."

8 And suddenly looking around they no longer saw any one with them but Jesus only.

They saw not Elijah, as great as he was; nor, did they see Moses, as great as he was... they saw One Person - JESUS only. This is the message of the Holy Trinity, One God -- let us look unto JESUS the author and finisher of our faith who for the joy that was set before him endured the Cross, despising the shame. Now, this same JESUS is at the right hand of God.

Christ is Victor, and now, we have his Vicar! And, now, we await him to call us up on high to be with him forever and ever and ever!

He transfigures you and me, beloved thought he sufferings and the times of trial. Yet, God so loves loved and loves us, that he sent his only Begotten Son to suffer a terrible death and the shame of the Cross, burdened with all our sins and guilt, the agony of it... such PURITY to be DIRTIED BY MY IMPURITY and yours as well.

If we could just stand at the base of the Cross with John and Mary for only a little while, all the summary of Carmel (Elijah) and the Law of Horeb (Moses) would come to bear down upon our souls and we would just barely touch the Agony and the Passion of the PURE and UNDEFILED LAMB of GOD.

Think of it this Lenten Season --- such PURITY defiled by MY IMPURITY and all done in PERFECT LOVE.

Weep with the Holy Daughter of Jerusalem, Mary Mother of God -- Pray for us!

How rich and precious and priceless is our Salvation, beloved of God alone...

9 And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of man should have risen from the dead. 10 So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what the rising from the dead meant.

Ah, yes, ponder these things well... for they are still a mystery to be fully revealed to us who are in Christ. God loves us so much, and, we ought to so love him and give ourselves over to God alone.

But, I believe there is one who understands better than most of us. It is Mary, who also pondered much in her Immaculate Heart, who through her dormition, assumption and coronation would foreshadow the glories to come to the whole people of God someday, when we also see JESUS face to face and are transformed fully into the blesses beatific state by grace through faith and baptism.

What purity will we have in JESUS as we reflect the Holy ... Holy ... Holy Light of the Divine Presence?

Shall we not also render him who loves us so the honor of our obedience and be like unto the saints who have walked in this Way of God before ?

Deus et Sanctissima.