Thought of the day
Sunday, February 21, 2016

Second Sunday of Lent - Year C

“Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father” (Mt 13,43)

The hour of the Passion draws near… Now, it must not come about that the disciples should find themselves crushed in spirit at that hour; it must not happen that those who had confessed through Peter’s mouth that he was the Son of God shortly before (Mt 16:16) should believe he was merely a man when they saw him fastened to the cross like a criminal. That is why he has strengthened them by means of this wonderful vision. 

Thus, when they should see him betrayed and in agony, praying that the chalice of death should pass him by and dragged into the high priest’s court, they might remember Mount Thabor and understand that it is of his own free will that he is delivered up to death… When they should see the blows and spittle on his face they would not be scandalized, calling to mind his radiance surpassing the sun. When they should see him derisively draped in a mantle of purple they would remember that this same Jesus had been clothed in light on the mountain. When they should see him crucified on the gallows between two criminals they would know he had appeared between Moses and Elijah as their Lord. When they should see him buried in the earth like a dead man they would think of the bright cloud with which he had been covered. 

Here, then, is one motive for the Transfiguration and perhaps there is another: the Lord exhorted his disciples not to try to save their own lives. He said to them: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me” (Mt 16:24). But to deny oneself and go towards a shameful death, that seems hard! Hence our Savior shows his disciples with what kind of glory those who have imitated his Passion will be judged worthy. Indeed, the Transfiguration is nothing other than the manifestation beforehand of the last day “when the righteous will shine in the presence of God” (Mt 13:43). 

Theophanes of Keramea