Reflection on the Gospel of Luke 9:28 – 43a; Last Sunday after the Epiphany:  Feb 27, 2022

“THE TRANSFIGURATION”

The Gospel according to Luke 9:28 – 43a

Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”–not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.

On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. Just then a man from the crowd shouted, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son; he is my only child. Suddenly a spirit seizes him, and all at once he shrieks. It convulses him until he foams at the mouth; it mauls him and will scarcely leave him. I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.” Jesus answered, “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.” While he was coming, the demon dashed him to the ground in convulsions. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. And all were astounded at the greatness of God.

Let us Pray: Teach us as you taught Peter, John, and James, that you are the light, the light to guide us when we find ourselves in conflict. Guide us off the mountain to the valley to serve those in need, This we pray in your name Father Son and Holy Spirit. Amen

Every day, God makes his presence known to us in many different ways. Some are more obvious than others. It may be a simple act of kindness with a smile and thank you, for the beauty that we see in nature, or an answered prayer. Often, we experience God’s grace when we are least expecting it. When God reveals himself to us in our daily lives, we are called to act as disciples and live out his message. We are called to open up our hearts to those who need it most, to lend a helping hand, and to be good neighbors and good stewards of our environment. So does this gospel even makes sense in today’s world of enemies, haters, cursers, and abusers. I’m not saying we don’t need today’s gospel; we need it more than ever. But is it really possible to live like that? Live where we see the grace of God and the love of Jesus. As complex as the world is, relationships are difficult. Life is fragile. And that’s why we need today’s gospel. And that’s why it matters. But it’s not easy. Jesus doesn’t intend for his words to be a how to lesson. He’s not telling us how to love, reconcile, forgive, be merciful, or offer generosity. That’s ours to figure out, not his. His words are intended “to stir thought, and provide some wider perspective”

We see in today’s gospel that Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and those standing with him. For us Jesus can be a wakeup call when we need it most. Our wake-up call probably won’t be on a mountain, but if we pay attention, it will make us feel we are in the presence of Jesus. That wake-up call can be our transfiguration. Our chance to shine and understand the message that Luke is portraying for us. We see that Jesus wants us to develop an attitude of trust toward God in any circumstances. Christ now moves from talking about our attitude in our circumstances to our attitude toward other people. Whether we are interacting with friends or enemies, Christians or non-Christians, our attitude toward other people should be to love them. None of us have problems loving the friends and family members we get along with. It’s the people, and even family members or others who seem to hate us, and the people who are out to cause us harm, and the people who spread lies about us that we have trouble loving. And so, it is these people that Jesus focuses on in this Gospel.

This Gospel tells us that now “they saw His glory” In this way Christ is presented with heavenly glory. The two heavenly men, Moses, and Elijah, represent the law and the prophets, the entire Old Testament revelation.  The two men speak with Christ “about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.” As they are watching, the disciples hear a voice, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” The disciples are to listen to what the Lord will tell them about what still has to happen and why this must happen. They will not hear any other voices. And when the voice had spoken, they saw that Jesus was alone. They did not tell anyone what they had seen. They kept it to themselves. This was one of the purposes of the event. Little by little it was dawning on them who He was! It is very easy to understand why Peter wanted to hold on to this glorious moment. Who wouldn’t? Preparation for the disciples didn’t come on the mountaintop and it won’t for us either. That experience was one to enjoy, celebrate, and treasure. The real work awaits below. They, and we as followers of Jesus Christ, are chosen as we are needed down in the valley.

Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, Holy One, Shine through us. Help us reflect our own glory. Shine throughout all your creation.  We praise you, Giver of Light.  This we pray in Your Name,  our light of the World. Amen.

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