Day 12: 2nd Sunday of Lent

Church at Mount Tabor

FORESEEING

 

  1. Document: Holy Scripture Readings

1.1.  First Reading: The Book of Genesis 22: 1-18

1.2.  Second Reading: Letter of St Paul to the Romans 8: 31-34

1.3.  Gospel Reading: The Gospel of St Mark 9: 2-10

1.4.  Simple Comment: Abraham obeys the summons of Yahweh to offer his only son Isaac as a sacrifice. He climbs Mount Moriah, placing the wood for the fire on his son’s shoulders. He entrusts the life of his son to God, for (according to the Letter to the Hebrews) “he was confident that God had the power even to raise the dead”. Similarly on Mount Tabor Jesus entrusts his life to his Father, because he was confident that the sacrifice on the cross that the Father wished him to accomplish will eventually be met with victory and triumph. Such assurance and conviction transfigures him as if already possessing the glory he will receive for obeying his Father’s will. Because of this St Paul exhorts us in his letter to the Romans to entrust ourselves to God as well for “is it possible that he who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for the sake of us all will not grant us all things besides?”

 

  1. Monument: Mount Tabor

2.1.  Rising from the Plain of Esdraelon, south of the Galilean hills, to a height of eighteen hundred feet is the majestic and most beautiful of Palestine’s mountains, Mount Tabor. It takes a narrow winding road to reach the top of this Mount where today stands a Basilica remembering the Transfiguration of Jesus as it was experienced and testified by his intimate circle of disciples, Peter, James and John.

2.2.  While the big mosaic above the main altar depicts the scene of the Transfiguration with Jesus conversing with Moses (representing the Law found in the first five books of the Old Testament) and Elijah (representing the prophetical writings which conclude the Old Testament), the altar is enclosed by a lower cupola where four other ‘transfigurations’ that happened in the mysterious life of Jesus are described: his birth when God became a man, his disfigured body as the lamb of sacrifice on the Cross, his risen transformed body leaving the tomb, and his sacramental presence in the bread of the Holy Eucharist.

 

  1. Lenten Reflection

3.1.  We continue to be astounded by this event in the life of Jesus, when he was completely transfigured in glory while beholding the ominous event of his passion and death. Moses and Elijah represent all the Old Testament predictions about this horrible sacrifice – yet excruciating and fearful as it should seem, Jesus is overjoyed to have it come to pass in his life. Why? Because He sees himself beyond the cross. He foresees himself as fulfilling the plan of salvation of his Father for His beloved people.

3.2.  Our joy usually consists in success, fame, achievements and the applause of men. We are overcome by sadness in the face of trials, suffering, injustice, persecution. Jesus’ joy – he calls it his food – is to be who he truly is, the only Son of the Father, and if this should take the form of dying on the cross, it did not matter so much as to the fact that he sees himself doing what the Father wills.

 

  1. Contemporary Filipino Question: For so long a time we have desired a prosperous nation! I believe that for as long as most of us in this generation are unwilling to take the necessary self-sacrifice of sowing without reaping, this long-sought dream will never come true. Today’s young generation is already in want and it will all the more be in want in the future, because the little that people sparingly sow is always greedily consumed by the same people who worked for it. Without a willing generation of Filipinos to die for this nation, the earlier will be the death of the next generations. Up to now it seems only Ninoy believes that the Filipino is worth dying for.