A Word #136 |Second Sunday of Lent| March 12, 2017

Mar 8, 2017

It's very common to see products endorsed by celebrities. Their endorsement tries to convince the consumer of the credibility of a particular product. The use of a celebrity to endorse a product is a marketing ploy just to sell a product regardless of whether the celebrity actually believes in the product personally. What is being marketed is not their personal endorsement of the product but their notoriety that is being attached to the product. In the Gospel, Jesus similarly is personally endorsed by two famous celebrities in the Old Testament.


On the Second Sunday of Lent, the Gospel is taken from one of the Synoptic Gospels (Sts. Matthew, Mark, or Luke) Transfiguration narratives. In all three accounts, Jesus takes His closest advisors with Him up Mount Tabor. At the summit, Jesus is transfigured before them and then Moses and Elijah appear and begin communicating with Jesus. Finally the voice of God the Father echoes from heaven saying: "Behold my beloved Son...listen to Him!" Definitively the Transfiguration was an event of real importance in the life of Jesus it is recorded in all three Synoptic Gospels and also mentioned in the letters of St. Peter.


The event of the Transfiguration was less for Jesus but more for the Apostles. Jesus didn't need to sell who he was to himself, he already knew who he was but rather it was the Apostles who needed further convincing. Even after all they had seen prior to ascending Mount Tabor, Peter, James, and John (representing the other nine), still didn't understand who is Jesus. Thus on Tabor, Jesus provides them a foretaste of the glory that was to be revealed after His crucifixion and resurrection. He also gets the best endorsement from the two most central figures in Judaism to provide further credibility and assurance to who He is and what He was sent to do. Moses representing the Law and Elijah who represents the Prophets manifest that both the Law and the Prophets were preparing the People of Israel for Jesus. This mosaic and prophetic endorsement is sealed with the command from heaven: Listen to Him!


With the endorsement of Moses, Elijah, and God the Father the followers of Jesus of yesterday and today are to recognize that Jesus is truly who He says He is: the Son of God. Unlike commercials with celebrity endorsements that try to persuade us to buy something that will ultimately be thrown aside or will become obsolete when another product hits the market, what Jesus has to offer is what we were made for: true happiness. Happiness doesn't require an exchange of cash or any credit card, however, it does require a commitment. It is something we must work for by resisting the artificial happiness that is being sold elsewhere. All that is necessary is that we truly listen to Jesus the Son of God whom the Law and the Prophets foretold in Sacred Scripture.


Our Lenten practices are meant to liberate us from those things that cause us to resist listening to the one who wants to lead us to true happiness. The Transfiguration of the Lord gives us a glimpse to the glory that Jesus wants to give us as long as we are willing to listen to Him and have faith that He is truly the Son of God.


In Christ,


Fr. John