Second Sunday of Lent (José Antonio Pagola)

Ross Reyes DizonHomilies and reflections, Year BLeave a Comment

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Not mistaking anyone for Jesus

According to the evangelist, Jesus takes Peter, James and John with him, leads them to a mountain apart by themselves, and there “he is transfigured before them.” These are the three disciples who apparently offer the greatest resistance to Jesus when he speaks to them about his painful destiny of crucifixion.

Peter has even tried to rid his head of these absurd ideas. The brother James and John keep asking for the prominent places in the Messiah’s kingdom. Before them precisely is Jesus going to be transfigured. They need it more than anyone else.

The scene, recreated with symbols from various resources, is grandiose. Jesus appears to them “clothed” with God’s own glory. All the while, Elijah and Moses—who, according to tradition have been snatched away from death and are living with God—appear and are conversing with Jesus. Everything is an invitation to catch a glimpse of the divinity of Jesus, crucified by his enemies but raised up to life by God.

Peter’s reaction is completely spontaneous: “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He has not understood anything. For one thing, he puts Jesus on the same level as Elijah and Moses: to each, his own tent. For another, he keeps opposing Jesus’ hard way; he wants to keep him there, in the glory of Tabor, far from the passion and the cross of Calvary.

God himself will solemnly correct him:  “This is my beloved Son.” You must not mistake him for anyone. “Listen to him,” even when he speaks to you about the way of the cross, which ends in the resurrection.

Only Jesus radiates light. All the rest of us—prophets and teachers, theologians and hierarchs, doctors and preachers—have darkened faces. We must not mistake anyone for Jesus. He alone is the beloved Son. His Word is the only one we should listen to. All other words have to lead us to him.

And we have to listen to it also today, when he speaks to us about “carrying the cross” of our times. Success hurts us Christians. It has led us even to think that we could have a Church that is at once faithful to Jesus, and to his project of the kingdom, and without conflicts, without rejection and without crosses. Today we are given more opportunities to live as “crucified” Christians. It will do us good. It will help us to recover our Christian identity.

March 1, 2015
2 Lent (B)
Mark 9, 2-10

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