Feb. 17: Second Sunday of Lent, Cycle A

Theophanes the Greek, The Transfiguration, The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, early 15th century

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Genesis 12:1-4
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22
Second Reading: Second Timothy 1:8-10
Gospel: Matthew 17:1-9

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 (NRSV, Mt 17:1-2).

Let us pray.

Father, as his disciples followed Jesus they were nevertheless not clear about who he was nor even sure of his message. So insecure were they that they easily abandoned him at the moment of his arrest. Peter would even publicly deny him. It was only in experiencing Jesus risen from the dead, Lord, that it all began to make sense to them. As their minds opened finally to understand that the message of the kingdom of God had to do, not with an earthly, but with an otherworldly reality, to which all are called, and that Jesus had himself entered into the fullness of that kingdom in his body; only then did they begin to rethink their previous understanding of who Jesus was. Surely, they now concluded, this Jesus, whom they had followed, was truly Messiah and Lord, your very Son. They should have realized it, they argued, by his very message and the power that went out from him, overcoming evil, forgiving sins and healing the sick. Indeed, your life and power, Father, were manifest in him. Of course, the disciples should have been ready for Jesus to pass through death and rise to new life. Had he not revealed himself in glory to Peter, James and John?

Father, from the very beginning, the divine life that you give eternally to your Word shone out through the life of the Word made flesh. We rehearse the story of the transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain but Jesus was truly transfigured in every moment of his life. Your life, Father, given to Jesus was always manifest in him. Father, you share that same life with all of us who are ready to accept it and grow in it. May we say “yes” to you that the same power that filled Jesus and went out from him to help others may also fill us and go out from us that we too may stand against all evil in the world and come to the assistance of our sisters and brothers in need. Father, enlivened and empowered by you, may we too lead transfigured lives.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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