On this second Sunday of Lent the liturgy focuses on the Gospel of the transfiguration of Jesus (Mk 9:2-10) in the presence of three of His apostles – the same three who would some time later witness His agony in the garden. Jesus invites Peter, John and James to accompany Him up “a high mountain where they could be alone by themselves”. Last week we found Jesus in the wilderness with the wild beasts being tempted by Satan. In the Bible the wilderness and the mountain are portrayed as places both of struggle and temptation on one hand and of intimacy with God on the other hand.

So in our Gospel today Jesus invites us to join the apostles on the mountain where He reveals Himself to them. In prayer Jesus not only reveals Himself to us but He also reveals our own and each person’s true identity and dignity for we are all one in Him. We hear the Father’s voice addressed to us: “This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to Him.” After this, the Gospel tells us that “they saw no one with them any more but only Jesus”. Would it not be wonderful if we too could only see Jesus in every person we meet, in every circumstance whether it be one of joy or pain? For He has promised to be with us always, yes to the end of time.

It is your Face, Lord, that I seek
The face of every person who suffers
is your Face
And calls on me to wipe it
You have taken on Yourself
The anguish and the pain
of all who are despised
oppressed and rejected
Your Face is so disfigured
as to seem no longer human
It is the Face of God
The face of man
The face of love
Show me Your Face O Lord
And I shall be safe.

In his apostolic exhortation on consecrated life Pope John Paul II, reflecting on the mystery of the transfiguration of Jesus, says: “In the countenance of Jesus, the ‘image of the invisible God’ (Col 1:5) and the reflection of the Father’s glory we glimpse the depths of an eternal and infinite love which is at the very root of our being. Those who let themselves be seized by this love cannot help abandoning everything to follow him. Like St Paul they consider all else as loss ‘because of the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ’ by comparison with which they do not hesitate to count all things as ‘refuse’ in order that they may gain Christ (Phil 3:8). They strive to become one with Him taking on His mind and His way of life. This leaving of everything and following the Lord is a worthy programme of life for all whom He calls in every age.”