In the Gospel on this Second Sunday of Lent we see Jesus transfigured on the mountain. The voice from heaven says “This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. Listen to him.”
There would be resonances here for Jewish Christians hearing this Gospel in the early Church. Jesus is seen talking with Moses, who led Israel out of slavery in Egypt, and Elijah, the great prophet, the one is to come again at the time when Israel will be finally delivered from oppression. Another resonance is the sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham, which also happened on a mountain. Moses, Elijah and Moses heard the voice of God on a mountain.
Regarding the sacrifice of Isaac, Jesus is called “The Lamb Who Was Slain”. He was crucified on a “mountain” called Golgotha. Jesus’s whole life is sacrificial, not just as man but also as God. In his total obedience to the Father he is always “slain” for us.
This is part of the reason why Peter and the other Apostles did not understand the Transfiguration until Jesus had risen from the dead. They could not fully follow Jesus until they had received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. We have received the Holy Spirit at our Baptism and at Confirmation so in this Lent we look at our lives to see exactly how it is that Jesus wants us to follow him. We can receive encouragement in this task if we reflect on the glory of Jesus – the encouragement felt among the early Christians. They had no doubt, in the light of their present experience, that Jesus was glorious even as he suffered and died. The Creed tells that Jesus “rose again in glory”. Jesus is the one who, in his infinite love for us, also has the infinite glory and power to save and transform us! Jesus enables us to share in his sufferings so that we may share in is glory.