March 5, 2009


2nd Sunday of Lent - B
Mark 9:2-10

Jesus Revealed as the Son of God on the Cross

First, the timing: The Transfiguration in Mark begins with “After six days” (9:2), which “may indicate that the event took place on the seventh day, and would thus have a sense of fulfillment.”[1] (The Gospel reading for the Sunday liturgy omits this phrase).

Second, the location: In Scriptures, mountains are the places where people encounter God. For example, Moses on Mount Sinai in Exodus 24:25-17, Elijah on Mount Horeb in 1 Kings 19:11.

Third, the characters: Elijah and Moses represent the Prophets and the Law. Through them, God’s revelation came to Israel. They prepared for the new and complete revelation in Jesus Christ, as we learn in the Letter to the Hebrews, “In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he spoke to us through a son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe, who is the refulgence of his glory, the very imprint of his being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word.” (1:1-3a)

All the three elements of time, place and characters prepare for the climax of the event of the Transfiguration. In this glorious setting, God testifies to the identity of Jesus, “This is my beloved Son.”

We have here the second time God speaks of Jesus as God’s beloved Son. (The first time is at the river Jordan in 1:11). Yet, it takes more than God’s own words for people to recognize who Jesus truly is. It is not until the crucifixion that a human being acknowledges this truth. Witnessing Jesus’ death, the centurion professes, “Truly this man was the Son of God.” (15:39). It is by his death on the cross that “the true identity of Jesus is revealed.”[2]

Yes, it is with the Cross that the revelation and the reality of God’s love reaches its fullness.

[1] Moloney, Francis J., The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002; p. 177.
[2] Harrington, Daniel J. The Gospel of Mark. Sacra Pagina Series. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2002; p. 449.

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