Lent II - Transfiguration
Sorry for the lateness of this post - on Sunday I was watching hockey and doing laundry after Church. It was also hard to find a local tie in for these readings under a Christian Left/Progressive Catholic heading. Advent was much easier on that score. Lent is more about personal salvation than bringing about the Kingdom of God.
The readings for the Second Sunday of Advent are about the Transfiguration, where Jesus took Peter, James and John to Mt. Tabor and was glorified by God while conversing with Moses and Elijah (which scripture says was his cousin, John the Baptist) about his upcoming Passion and Death, with God providing the last word by acknowledging Jesus as his favored Son. This echos his appearance at Jesus baptism. Indeed, it bookends his public ministry since the Transfiguration happens just before Jesus went to Jerusalem to certain death.
Who was the transfiguration for? One could argue that it was for posterity or for Peter, James and John. To some extent, that is correct (otherwise, they would not have reported it), however that cannot be the whole story since the Resurrection is enough for posterity. Indeed, Jesus commanded his disciples not to mention it at all until after the Resurrection.
There is a danger to attach a triumphalistic meaning to this story - indeed such a meaning is most welcome to those who come from a triumphalist perspective, be they the Catholic Church or its Evangelical equivalent, the Family. (Note the local tie-in). Triumphalism is not necessary, however, if you have the Resurrection. Indeed, it is not even correct.
The Transfiguration happened because Jesus needed it. It was strength for his own faith journey. He knew from the scriptures that he was to go to Jerusalem to die, however this provided proof for his own benefit - although I am not sure this would make it easier for him to deal with. He likely took Peter, James and John as sources of strength, rather than witnesses. No one wants to face God alone, even God's own Son. We find and face God in community. We also mostly act in community, especially when we work to bring about the Kingdom of God on Earth, which is a special task for those working for the poor and the marginalized in Washington. I will have much more about how this is going in a later essay.