Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!”
When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Lent is with us now, an invitation to prayer, noticing what we hope for, and what God offers us day by day. And maybe we simplify our calendar, open the door to helping people, take time with the scripture or the blessing of quiet where we can find it. But mainly it’s a time to simply come to know Jesus, looking toward his humanity and closeness to us, tasting a connection that can surprise our dull hearts.
So it is that Jesus in the desert grips our attention, where his mission is sifted and shaped with real choices for God’s way over easier ways of miracles and self-concern. And then this week comes an invitation to a more intimate connection, a mountain walk, where the air clears and our brother Jesus is transfigured there. It is felt almost as a new relationship, directed exactly toward us who follow, at first impossibly beyond the human, and yet full of consolation and possibility.
The Beloved of God lives in immediate friendship with the saints, the prophets and liberators of history. And he is totally present to us. We see who this is, his radiance, such freedom. And still he is this human one, accessible, “only Jesus.”
What is it now to know and love him, directly, letting go of other efforts! I invite him into my life, where he wants to be, where I am most at a loss, most in need.
—Fr. Richard Bollman, S.J., a Jesuit of the Chicago-Detroit province, is currently engaged in pastoral ministries in Cincinnati and at the Jesuit Center in Milford, OH.
Life-giving God, the light of your truth gives sight to the darkness of sinful eyes. Restore our sight that we may look upon Jesus who calls us to repentance and a change of heart. We pray for your grace, Holy God, now and always. Amen.
—Fr. Richard Bollman, S.J.