The second stage of the Lenten itinerary focuses on God’s kindness to the man who is invited to share his own life. Abraham was the first person to be called in the adventure that connects Jews and Christians. (1th reading, Gen 12:1-4); After him, his descendants; but now, Paul says in the second reading (2Tim 1:8-10), the invitation is extended to all men. God “called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”
And precisely today’s Gospel passage (Mt 17:1-9) reveals the death-life dimension in which the divine Master intends to involve those who entrust themselves to Him. He does this, by reporting an episode of Jesus’ life. This episode is very clear about its meaning but it’s far from the common experience; for this reason it is expressed through a plot of symbols and references on which some elucidation will not be useless
A mountain: the tradition believes that it is the Tabor; but whatever it is, it is connected to another mountain, Horeb, where the fundamental revelation of God took place with Moses. And there, on the high mountain, Jesus, whom the apostles each day experienced His humanity, also revealed His divinity, in the form in which they could perceive it. The sun as a symbol of God: the sun, from which light and heat derive and are therefore life on earth, is the best thing to understand the importance of God in the spiritual dimension of existence. Perhaps, remembering Jesus who was transfigured, John, at the beginning of his gospel (1,1-18), spoke of Jesus as the light that came into the world
Second moment of the Transfiguration: with Jesus. Moses personifies the old law, that, through him, God gave the people of Israel; Elijah was the best known of the prophets, he also, among other things, had benefited from a manifestation of God at Horeb; together they represent the Holy Scriptures, that according to the customs of the time, Jesus also designated as “the Law and the Prophets.” These two characters that summarize the Old Testament are here subordinate to Jesus, because He is the fulfillment of their work: He is the new and definitive legislator, He is the new and definitive prophet who came to proclaim that God is Father:” His Father and our Father. “
After the break represented by Peter’s enthusiasm, who would like to fix forever the vision, the third moment of the episode sees the intervention of God, the Father, whose voice designates Jesus as “Son”. And as a consequence of this supreme recognition, the invitation which follows: “Listen to him!” seems quite obvious to us.
The invitation is particularly applicable today: at the beginning of Lent, those who intend to follow this path can’t but intensify the listening of the eternal word of Jesus, the Light of the world. At the same time it aims to Easter, Jesus Himself refers to It when He instructed the three apostles: “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
Jesus was transfigured on the mountain to prepare his friends at the time when they would see Him in agony in the Garden of Olives, scourged, led to Calvary, nailed to the wood of the cross; He wanted to prepare them so that they could not lose heart, but they were confident that no one could ever get rid of the splendor of His divinity. that was glimpsed for a moment, waiting to contemplate it forever, together with all those who accept the invitation to listen to Him.
The greatness of the glory of God was manifested in the love that Jesus gave us when He came to share our human nature and in the great gift that the Lord did when He died on the cross
In August 1912 Jesus talking to Luisa, just about the gift of His love to humanity, compares it to sunlight.
The sun rises majestically, but while it rises, it is always fixed and never rises. With its light it invades all the earth; with its heat it fecundates all plants; there is no eye which does not enjoy of it. One could say that there is almost no good on earth which does not come from its beneficial influence. How many things would not have life without it? And yet, it does everything without clamor, without saying even a word, without demanding anything. It gives no bother to anyone; on the contrary, it does not even take up any space on earth which, in turn, it invades with its light. Men can do whatever they want with it; even more, while they enjoy the good of the sun, they pay no attention to it, and they keep it in their midst, unobserved.
Such is Jesus’ love, symbolized by the sun. Like majestic sun, it rises in the midst of all; there is no mind which is not irradiated by His light; there is no heart which does not feel His heat; there is no soul which is not embraced by His love. More than sun, He is in the midst of all, but how few pay attention to Him. He remains almost unobserved in their midst; He is not requited, and yet He continues to give light, heat and love. If some soul pays attention to Him, He goes mad, but without clamor, because, being solid, fixed, truthful, His love is not subject to weaknesses.
Just so our Lord would like our love for Him; and if it were so, we too would become sun for Him and for all, because true love possesses all the qualities of the sun. On the other hand, a love which is not solid, fixed, truthful, is symbolized by earthly fire, which is subject to variations. Its light is not capable of illuminating all; it is a very gloomy light, mixed with smoke. Its heat is limited, and if it is not fed with wood, it dies down and turns into ash; and if the wood is green, it sputters and smokes.
Such are the souls who are not completely for Him. If they do a little bit of good, it is more clamor and smoke that comes out of their actions than light.
If they are not fed by some human bother, even under the aspect of sanctity, of conscience, they die down and become colder than ash. Their characteristic is inconstancy: now fire, now ash.
We too are called to be inhabited by the glory and light of the sun that it is Jesus; Grace is nothing but the seed of glory, and this scene of the Transfiguration, not only reveals to us the mystery of Jesus, but also reveals our eternal destiny.
When the trials of life make our earthly pilgrimage exhausting, we feel the need to perceive this extraordinary destiny of glory that awaits us, to continue our journey with more enthusiasm and generosity.