Our Mountaintops

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

March 13th, 2022 – Second Sunday of Lent - Luke 9:28-36

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Today’s gospel is familiar to most of us. It’s commonly referred to as “the Transfiguration.” My guess is that the disciples of Jesus who witnessed it would never forget that experience. It was not in any way an ordinary event as it’s described in Luke’s Gospel. Not only was Jesus “transfigured” before their very eyes atop the mountain, but there stood beside him two of the greatest historical figures of Jewish history, Moses and Elijah. It’s not surprising that Peter, James and John wanted this event to continue indefinitely. They suggested that tents be built to allow for a more lasting event.

But that was not to be. In fact, we might add that Jesus did not want this transfigured moment to continue because that’s not the way life is. Yes, there are good times. But there are also difficult and challenging times. History, both global and personal, witnesses to the mix of both. Their mountaintop experience was good, and should not be forgotten, but they had to descend to the reality of life’s everyday challenges. That is also part of life.

The renowned Jewish psychologist, Abraham Maslow, pointed out that each of us enjoys  “peak experiences” during our lives. In them, we experience a heightened sense of the mystery and blessings of life. We may feel more alive, more in tune with others, more in touch with the great wonder of our lives. In other words, we may simply have moments when we feel more alive!

These are passing moments, but they also can be transformative moments. Like those experienced by the close disciples of Jesus that day on the mountain. Often it is during such moments that we gain the power and the will to endure difficult times that commonly come into our lives later on.

These close followers of Jesus, Peter, James and John, would go on to witness the events that led to the crucifixion of Jesus, along with its terrible enactment at the hands of ruthless enemies. They would each struggle in their own lives to remain faithful to Jesus. And they would recall special times when they felt his love. There would be hard days ahead, but they retained their faith and trust in God’s care for them.

They are no different than us. We have our good times and our challenging times. It is unrealistic to expect otherwise. Our task is to keep the whole of our lives in perspective. As Scripture reminds us, there is a time for joy and a time for sorrow. Both are blessed.   

©David M. Thomas, PhD

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