Jesus embodies obedience for us to model
by Sister Sally Ann Brickner
“This is my chosen Son; listen to Him.” ~ Luke 9:35
Sunday's texts from Sacred Scripture describe a major biblical theme, that of covenant. In Genesis we hear of God’s promise to Abram that he would have descendants as numerous as the stars to live in a land of their own and be universally blessed. Abram’s responsibility in the covenantal relationship was to walk blamelessly before God, living in righteousness.
The Gospel from St. Luke focuses on Jesus’ transfiguration, an event that is recorded in each of the Synoptic Gospels. This points to its importance, its significance. We might wonder why the account would be chosen for a Lenten reading and how it connects to the passage from Genesis.
The scene is vividly portrayed by Luke. Jesus chooses three of His disciples -- Peter, John and James -- to accompany Him up a mountain for prayer. (Recall that Jesus asked these same disciples to watch and pray with Him in the garden of Gethsemane.) During His prayer, Jesus is transfigured before their eyes and they see Him conversing with Moses and Elijah, both of whom experienced covenantal relationships with God. As the two figures disappear, a cloud envelops Jesus and the disciples, and they hear God’s voice: “This is my chosen Son; listen to Him.” Left speechless, the disciples tell no one what they have seen and heard. Maybe they didn’t ask Jesus about it either.
This Scripture passage is integrally related to and expressive of covenantal relationship. The old covenant, exemplified in the Old Testament figures of Abram, Moses, and Elijah, was repeatedly broken because of human frailty and disobedience. During the Transfiguration, God speaks directly to the disciples about Jesus: “This is my chosen Son; listen to Him.” In Jesus, God chooses to mediate a New Covenant that will never be broken. Through Jesus’ obedience, even to death on the Cross and His being raised up, God establishes a new relationship with humanity and with creation.
Through the Transfiguration of Jesus, Peter, John and James experience directly God’s affirmation of Jesus and His message of covenantal love. Remembering God’s words about their dearest friend will sustain them not only through Jesus’ passion and death but also during the subsequent persecutions they themselves would have to endure.
Pray and ponder:
- What revelatory experiences have you had that caused you to say, “Lord, it is good to be here!”
- How will your Lenten practices help you listen more closely to Jesus?
- How will your Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving deepen your covenantal relationship with God begun in baptism?