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Second Sunday of Lent: The glory before the Passion

The transfiguration scene is set in a secluded place, on a high mountain where Jesus led three of his disciples. They will be witnesses of his agony in Gethsemane (Mark 14:33). Mark stresses the fact that they were alone. 
The fact that Jesus reserved His revelation to some disciples and that he eventually told them not to disclose it indicates they were given a share of a very significant experience but still too high to be comprehended by all. 
The revelation was made on a high mountain that the Christian tradition has identified with Tabor. But, the gospel text does not speak of Tabor, but of a high mountain. 
This expression has clear biblical references. The manifestations of the Lord and the great encounter of man with God in the Bible are located on the mountain. Moses (Exodus 24:15ff) and Elijah (1 Kings 19:8), the same characters that appear during the transfiguration, have received their revelations on the mountain. 
More than a physical place, the mountain is the time in which the intimacy with God reaches its climax. It is that sublime experience that the mystics call union of the soul with God, the one in which the person, almost dissolving in his Lord, feels identified with his thoughts, feelings, words and actions.
Jesus introduces them, the innermost thoughts of the Father, His inscrutable designs on the messiah. This is the shocking revelation that some of the disciples, not all, will one day receive from heaven. 
The white clothes (v.3) outwardly manifest the identity of Jesus. The colour white was the symbol of God’s world; it was a sign of celebration and joy. In the kingdom of God, the elect will be “clothed in white” (Revelation 7:13). 
Moses and Elijah two powerful characters from the history of Israel, are introduced into the scene of the Transfiguration to testify that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and the prophets (Deuteronomy  18:15). The invitation to listen to him, confirms it. 
Feast of Tabernacles is celebrated in Israel to commemorate the years in the wilderness. Zechariah had announced that at the coming of the Messiah, all the nations of the earth would be gathered together in Jerusalem to celebrate together the Feast of the Tabernacles (Zechariah 14:16-19). 
Referring to this oracle, the rabbis described the time of the Messiah as a perennial “feast of boths.” Asking to build three tents, Peter believes that now is the time of God’s kingdom. He continues to cultivate the illusion that it is possible to enter the kingdom of God without going through the gift of life. Mark tells us: “He did not know what to say; they were overcome with awe.” 
They failed to understand that Jesus was going to give life through suffering. Only the light of Easter and the experiences with the Risen Lord will open wide their eyes. 
● Father Fernando Armellini SCJ
Claretian Publications 
Translated by 
Father John Ladesma SDB 
Abridged by 
Father Kandamkulathy Jijo CMF