The Second Sunday of Lent
March 8, 2020 Cycle A

by Rev. Jose Maria de Sousa Alvim Calado Cortes, F.S.C.B.
Chaplain, Saint John Paul II National Shrine, Washington, D.C.

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Sunday Reading Meditations

Today’s Gospel tells us that Jesus manifested his glory to Peter, James, and John on a holy mountain.

“Lord, it is good that we are here” (Mt 17:4). There is nothing more delightful than contemplating God’s glory. The three apostles saw the uncreated light, the light of the Tabor: “He was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light” (Mt 17:2).

We find the fulfillment of all desire in the contemplation of the face of Christ: “Of you my heart has spoken: seek his face. It is your face, O Lord, that I seek” (Ps 27[26]: 8-9). In the depth of our hearts is inscribed the desire to see God. The vision of God is happiness without end.

In order to see God, our sight must be made pure through a process of purification. We need to climb the mountain, as the apostles did with Jesus. We need to go on a journey, like Abram: “Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you” (Gen 12:1).

In the second reading, Saint Paul tells us that we are called to holiness: “He saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 1:9). We become saints not by our works but by our participation in Christ’s glory. Sanctity consists in the contemplation of the glorious face of Jesus.

Today’s verse before the Gospel says: “From the shining cloud the Father’s voice is heard: This is my beloved Son, hear him.” The Father wants us to listen to Jesus. We hear Christ’s voice as we pray and meditate the Word of God. In order to reach the top of the mountain of the contemplation, we need to climb the mountainside of the meditation of the Word.

Jesus revealed his glory to Peter, James and John in order to prepare them for the dramatic events of his passion and death. Suffering is not meaningless but rather a path of glorification. Before beginning his passion, Jesus tells his disciples: “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (Jn 12:23).

As we celebrate the Second Sunday of Lent, we ask Jesus to show us his glory. May his illuminated face shine on us and help us to see the contradictions of life as a path of glorification.  Amen.