Each year the Gospel for the second Sunday of Lent recounts the experience of the transfiguration. Jesus took Peter, James, and John away to a “high mountain” and somehow they experienced Jesus in an entirely new way. The characters of Moses and Elijah in the account represent the two major areas of Jewish belief — the law and the prophets — which Jesus came to fulfill. Perhaps this was the evangelist’s way of describing the disciples’ first inkling that Jesus would complete and replace the former teachings of Judaism. There was also the “voice” which revealed Jesus as God’s beloved Son — someone to whom the disciples should listen and follow.
We also have transfiguration moments — times of revelation and insight when we experience or understand Jesus or the Trinity, in a new or more powerful way. They may not be as dramatic as the scene recounted in today’s Gospel, but each new insight or understanding deepens our relationship with God. To know God is to love God. And to know more of God should lead to deeper love of God and a greater readiness to do whatever God asks of us, as he also claims us as beloved sons and daughters.
Like the experience of the disciples, these times of revelation or insight most often happen when we have the opportunity to “go apart,” to stop, look and listen. It may not involve a journey to a “high mountain” but simply getting away from the busyness of work or daily routine which gives us a fresh perspective and provides space for new awareness. For some people, this is a time of retreat. For others, it may 15 minutes of quite time to reflect on Scripture or to read a Lenten “thought for the day,” or simply to walk in the beauty of creation.
At least once each week all of us have the opportunity for that special time and space for God’s intervention in our life. Each Sunday we come apart and enter a space we call “sacred.” We are able to listen, reflect, respond and offer Christ’s sacrifice to our Father.
There is always a dual action that is involved in our gathering. We come “together” and our worship and prayer at this time are not private, but they involve all of us. Our prayer is communal, and so to prepare, we greet and welcome each other, we sing and respond together, and we are conscious that our actions are those of “us with Christ.” At the same time, we also need some time and quiet to transition and to prepare for the sacred mysteries we are about to celebrate.
The narthex or gathering area provides space for the welcoming and greeting. Moving into the body or nave of the church provides us with the quiet space for some personal reflection and focus time.
This weekend, may our time of worship and attention to God be a time of renewed understanding and deepening love for the God who touches our lives and who calls us beloved sons and daughters.
Sr. Rehrauer is the diocesan director of Evangelization and Worship.