Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This Second Sunday of Lent invites us to contemplate the Transfiguration of Jesus on the
mountain, before three of his disciples (cf. Mk 9:2-10). Just before, Jesus had announced
that in Jerusalem he would suffer greatly, be rejected and put to death. We can imagine
what must have happened in the heart of his friends, of those close friends, his disciples:
the image of a strong and triumphant Messiah is put into crisis, their dreams are
shattered, and they are beset by anguish at the thought that the Teacher in whom they
had believed would be killed like the worst of wrongdoers. And in that very moment,
with that anguish of soul, Jesus calls Peter, James and John and takes them up the
mountain with him.
The Gospel says: He “led them up a high mountain” (v. 2). In the Bible, the mountain
always has a special significance: it is the elevated place where heaven and earth touch
each other, where Moses and the prophets had the extraordinary experience of
encountering God. Climbing the mountain is drawing somewhat close to God. Jesus
climbs up with the three disciples and they stop at the top of the mountain. Here, he is
transfigured before them. His face radiant and his garments glistening, which provide a
preview of the image as the Risen One, offer to those frightened men the light, the light of
hope, the light to pass through the shadows: death will not be the end of everything, because
it will open to the glory of the Resurrection. Thus, Jesus announces his death; he takes
them up the mountain and shows them what will happen afterwards, the Resurrection.
As the Apostle Peter exclaimed (cf. v. 5), it is good to pause with the Lord on the
mountain, to live this “preview” of light in the heart of Lent. It is a call to remember,
especially when we go through a difficult trial — and many of you know what it means
to go through a difficult trial — that the Lord is Risen and does not allow darkness to
have the last word.
At times we go through moments of darkness in our personal, family or social life, and
we fear there is no way out. We feel frightened before great enigmas such as illness,
innocent pain or the mystery of death. In the same journey of faith, we often stumble
encountering the scandal of the cross and the demands of the Gospel, which calls us to
spend our life in service and to lose it in love, rather than preserve it for ourselves and
protect it. Thus, we need a different outlook, a light that illuminates the mystery of
life in depth and helps us to move beyond our paradigms and beyond the criteria of this
world. We too are called to climb up the mountain, to contemplate the beauty of t
he Risen One that enkindles glimmers of light in every fragment of our life and helps us
to interpret history beginning with the paschal victory.
Let us be careful, however: that feeling of Peter that “it is well that we are here” must not
become spiritual laziness. We cannot remain on the mountain and enjoy the bliss of this
encounter on our own. Jesus himself brings us back to the valley, among our brothers
and sisters and into daily life. We must beware of spiritual laziness: we are fine, with our
prayers and liturgies, and this is enough for us. No! Going up the mountain does not
mean forgetting reality; praying never means avoiding the difficulties of life; the light of
faith is not meant to provide beautiful spiritual feelings. No, this is not Jesus’ message.
We are called to experience the encounter with Christ so that, enlightened by his light,
we might take it and make it shine everywhere. Igniting little lights in people’s hearts;
being little lamps of the Gospel that bear a bit of love and hope: this is the mission of a
Let us pray to Mary Most Holy, that she may help us to welcome the light of Christ with
wonder, to safeguard it and share it.