“The appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white” (Luke 9:28)

by Shiu Lan
Second Sunday of Lent

Genesis 15:5-12,17-18

Philippians 3:17-4:1

Luke 9:28B-36

This Sunday’s Gospel Reading is Luke’s account of Jesus’ transfiguration. While He prays on a mountain “The appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white” (Luke 9:29). Moses and Elijah also appear in glory and they speak to Jesus “of his exodus, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem” (Luke 9:31). The transfiguration ends with the climax when “from the cloud came a voice that said, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!’” (Luke 9:35).

In his Angelus of February 25, 2018, Pope Francis explained that the transfiguration is related to what happened six days before, when Jesus reveals to his disciples that in Jerusalem he will "suffer many things. He will be rejected by the elders and chief priests and teachers of the Law and put to death. Then after three days he will be raised to life" (Luke 9:22).

The Pope said that the announcement is a challenge to Peter and the whole group of disciples, who reject the idea that Jesus is to suffer and die. By leading Peter, James and John to a high mountain and showing them his glory - the glory of the Son of God - Jesus enables them to face His Passion in a positive way.

Pope Francis encouraged his audience to climb up with Jesus on the mountain, to stop with Him, to be more attentive to the voice of God and to allow oneself to be enveloped and transformed by the Spirit. It is important to live out the experience of contemplation and prayer and to enjoy intimacy with God.

Personally, the transfiguration account has always been uplifting and inspiring. I remember once driving by the church on a dull day when my heart was quite burdened with the news from a very dear friend who was stricken with a mysterious ailment for almost a year. Tests after tests were done but there was no conclusive diagnosis. While one could say that no news is good news but the discomfort caused by the symptoms and the anxiety of the seemingly endless wait was very trying to the patient and the family. So on this dreary day, I decided to stop by the church to pray. I went into the chapel hoping to find some solace before the Blessed Sacrament. Although I was like the disciples who were “weighed down with sleep” but “stayed awake” yet for some reason, I was able to talk to Jesus almost right away, telling Him all that was on my mind. When I left after a brief stay, the burden was lifted from my heart. It was as if I had a moment of transcendence in which my faith was strengthened just when it began to dwindle under the cares of the world.