2nd Sunday of Lent, Year C
Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18
Psalm 27:1, 7-8, 8-9, 13-14
February 21, 2016
Abram, who will become Abraham, has been lamenting that he does not have any children. In Abraham’s day this would have been huge. Children were your “future”, the mark you left on this world. It also meant no heir. The desire for children is natural and good. However, the desire for an “heir” may focus one on material things. Who will inherit all his possessions?
God hears Abraham’s cry and takes him outside to show him the stars. God tells Abraham to count them. Of course, there are too many to count. God promises Abraham his children will be as numerous as the starts.
Abraham then “put his faith in the Lord” and trusted God. Yet Abraham seeks something to “seal the deal.” God directs him to offer a huge sacrifice as a sign of the covenant He is forming with Abraham.
Yes, Abraham seeks to seal the covenant but ultimately he believes. He doesn’t know how it will all come to be but he trusts God over human expectation.
Peter, James, and John have become disciples of Jesus. They see him as a messiah who comes to defeat the Romans and restore the earthly kingdom of Israel. They have seen Jesus do miracles and preach but they do not yet understand who He truly is and what He will do as the Messiah.
While they don’t fully understand, they did put their faith in Jesus and follow him.
Jesus goes to the mountain to pray and He takes Peter, James, and John with him. Why?
He goes to pray alone and He certainly doesn’t need their help to pray. He brings them not to pray but to see what happens to help them take the next step in their faith journey.
As Jesus is praying, Peter, James, and John fall asleep. As they awaken, they see Jesus transfigured and conversing with Moses and Elijah? Why was it important for them to see this?
As they see Jesus transfigured, “his faced changed in appearance” and his clothes become “dazzling white,” they are Jesus in his glory, the way we will see him in Heaven. This is to help the disciples realize that Jesus comes from God.
Moses and Elijah are present to show us that Jesus is not someone with an entirely new message. Moses’ presence symbolizes that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law. Elijah’s presence symbolizes Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophecies.
Peter is so amazed but what he is seeing that he doesn’t know what to say. He just wants to say something and he wanted the moment to last so he offers to build three tents for them.
Peter, James, and John thought they knew who Jesus was but, in reality, they were only beginning to know Jesus. They still needed to convert their hearts to see Jesus not just as an earthly messiah but as our savior and redeemer.
What does this mean for us?
This story of the Transfiguration is written down in the gospels to help us, even today, understand who Jesus really is.
How much do we really know about Jesus? We can all probably claim to know more than the disciples knew at the time of the Transfiguration. If nothing else, we know about his death and resurrection.
Even so, the truth is that we are only beginning to understand who Jesus is. We cannot fully comprehend God until we are with him in Heaven.
While we live in this world, we try to define God in earthly terms. We say God is everywhere but we struggle to be aware of God’s presence. We struggle in affliction. It just doesn’t make sense.
We want to have all the answers but that isn’t going to happen. Sometimes I hear people say they are going to have a lot of questions for God when they are with him in Heaven. We might have lots of questions but I think that when we get to Heaven, the answers aren’t going to matter much. We will so full of joy, the answers won’t matter.
We do not have to wait for Heaven to have a taste of God’s joy. God wants to make his presence known to us now. The problem is we need to stop focusing on earthly things to open ourselves to God.
Do we have reason to be concerned about having enough food, a place to live, or clothing to wear? Sure but we must not let it consume us. That just causes us anxiety and the anxiety can keep us from feeling God’s presence in our lives.
Sometimes we just need to be like Abraham and put our faith in God.