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  • Fr. John Jennings

Our Sacred Stories ~ Going to the Mountain: Visions & Dreams

Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high

mountain apart, by themselves.  There he was transfigured before them....


Every year on the Second Sunday of Lent we listen to the story of the transfiguration.  This year we hear the account as told by the Gospel writer Mark.  Transfiguration is not a common word for us, but it does describe something that is quite often part of our experience.  Transfiguration expresses change, transformation.  It describes someone showing a different side or image of themselves.  On that “high mountain apart, by themselves” this is what Mark describes happened for those three disciples.  They had a vision of who Jesus is.


But Transfiguration also involves self-discovery.  The experience shows the disciples beginning to see who they are.  It reveals a transformation in their own lives.  Accepting this change is more than taking on something new.  It also involves a letting go of who they have been and accepting that their lives have in fact changed.  New vision will always have this result and this challenge.

               

This is a story of vision.  Peter and James and John have a vision.  They glimpse Jesus in radiant light, expressing the presence of God in their midst.  He is accompanied by the prophets Elijah and by Moses who led God’s People into covenant with God and brought them from slavery to liberation.  These were the twin pillars of the faith of Israel in God – the law and the prophets.  The vision of Peter, James and John now brought them to see this faith fulfilled in Jesus.

               

Jesus is the power of God revealed in human flesh.  What Mark presents as happening to these disciples on that mountain acknowledges the faith of Christians down through the ages.  Jesus reveals the Spirit of God showered upon humanity.  It is a vision of God’s dream for us, what we can be.


This Sunday which focuses on the transfiguration is sometimes referred to as the “day of dreams.”  As the Gospel writer anticipates the resurrection, God’s dream for creation and for all humanity is revealed in Jesus, the risen one.  It is a dream of life and of light, of healing and reconciliation, of liberation and renewal.  It is a dream of transformation, shown in the transfiguration that the disciples experienced on the mountain.


The transfiguration is not only about Jesus.  The vision is also about the disciples and their mission.  And, it is about us and the way of life we are called to imitate.  It is about our own transformation and becoming.  Whether we realize it or not, following in t he steps of Jesus and blessed with the Spirit, we are meant to transform and transfigure all creation.  In our own time and world, our mission is to transform our relationships, our Church, our community and our world.               


This is quite a vision and it has all kinds of risks and challenges for us, as it had for Jesus.  But what a dream, what a vision for our world!  It is our glory and salvation – A world transformed, transfigured.  Getting there will involve many challenges – from taking on something new and also, letting go of what has been our world.  We are to bring life out of suffering and death, liberation out of bondage and injustice, healing out of division and hurt for all.


Our Church is currently working to grow as a dynamic, synodal Church.  The next session of the Synod will occur in October.  Around the world we are all asked to reflect on this question: “HOW can we be a synodal Church in Mission?”  In this transformation, are we open to the new and ready to let go of what has been? 

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