On the 2nd Sunday of Lent in 1950 I was led with several others up a winding road to the top of the hill where we had a commanding view of the Little Miami River Valley in Foster, Ohio. My heart was full of wonder and connection between nature and our liturgical year.
We read the Sunday gospel again about another walk up a mountain, the story of Jesus and 3 apostles going up to the mountain of Transfiguration in Palestine/Israel. These apostles were the same 3, Peter, John and James, who eventually went with Jesus during his agony in the garden of Gethsemane the day before he died. Apparently they had the same problem here as they did there, falling asleep.
This time they woke utterly astonished to see Jesus “… with his face changed and his clothing dazzling white and 2 men conversing with him, Moses and Elijah who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.” Luke 9
In the history of the evolution of Lent, I understand this is given us on the 2nd Sunday as encouragement to be steadfast in the observance of the discipline of Lent. Last Sunday we went with Jesus into the desert where he faced temptations not unlike the ones we face. So now we need encouragement that we’re on the right path practicing the themes of Lent – prayer, fasting, almsgiving. The meaning of Lent is Metanoia – a “total turning around” toward God. We want to be ready to be with Jesus more fully as we move through those final days of his life, the agony and torture of good Friday, the emptiness of Saturday and the climax of it all – the triumph of Resurrection. This is focused during the review of our sacred history and the renewal of our baptismal covenant with the divine at the Easter vigil. It is hoped that in ritually celebrating such profound mysteries with our hearts open and ready, their power will pierce through our everydayness and truly transform our lives, that we too will triumph over death. “He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body…” Phil 3
The 1st reading is about the covenant God makes with Abraham, a bond which God will never break, and that he offers to each of us. GN 1
I was struck as though I never heard it before by the use of the actual word “Exodus” in relation to Jesus passage through death to the fullness of life. It is usually used in relation to the Passover which this year is celebrated during the same week as the Latin calendar’s Holy Week.
May all of us pass over from our small daily falls from greatness, our little falls from loving service, to embracing the exuberant fullness of a life of giving and surrender each precious day!