A scholarly attempt at an interpretation of Sunday's liturgical readings.

Becoming someone else

Mt. Everest has become somewhat of a “magic” mountain over the years.  The challenges are so great for climbing to the top, so that when one gets there s/he gets to share in the “magic” of media coverage.  Edmund Hillary was one of the first few to make it to the top so that he became a media focus for some time afterwards.

In this sense the “mountain” has entered our culture as something important. Yet, the “mountain” played a significant role in the Bible as well.  Certainly, Mt. Sinai was one of the key examples.  It was the locale where God entered into a mutually responsible covenant with his people.  “I will be your God and you will be my people IF you keep my commandments.” Moses was the mediator.

In the Gospel for the Second Sunday in Lent (Mark 9:2-10), the mountain becomes a signicant locale for what is about to take place, namely, the Transfiguration of Jesus.  Belief that the mountain was the meeting place for heaven and earth, meant that whatever took place there naturally had signicance.

And what was significant in this Gospel reading was that Jesus was transfigured in front of the disciples.  From the normal Jesus to one who was “dazzingly white.”  Light was victory over darkness.  That is to say that these disciples were made privvy to Jesus’ resurrection.

And Moses was also present on this mountain, along with Elijah.  Quite likely signifying that the Law (Moses) and the prophets (Elijah) would accompany Jesus.  Then a voice came from the clouds said, “This is my beloved Son.  Listen to him.” (Mark 9:7)  What could this have meant?

In the Bible, a cloud often represents the divinity.  The voice’s comment appears to suggest that God the Father is recognizing Jesus as his son, and he says that the message of Jesus must be heard.

What are we to make of the above for our daily living?  Well, for awhile I thought that having a memory aide would be helpful (Memory aides are useful  as you get older).  The one that came to me could be (or already is ?) a cable channel, namely MTV.

M would stand for “mountain.”  We would have to  decide what our mountain would be.  Where can I encounter God?  In prayer?  Through the Sacraments? Or in other people?

T could represent “transfiguration.”  Every time that we do well to others, we are transfiguring ourselves from being lukewarm disciples into effective ones.

V  would certainly represent the “voice” from the cloud.  We would have to see Jesus in his humanity and in his divinity.  Above all, we should listen to what he has to say.  Listening to Jesus means doing what Jesus did, for example, practice justice, be compassionate, forgiving, and understanding.

The seasons of Lent and Easter can give us a better understanding of the resurrection, namely, through suffering comes life.  And if we are serious with the MTV process, we can easily become someone else.  That is to say, from the lukewarm Christian to the sincere one.

 

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