We’ve been invited to go on a trip. Yes, a trip! Lent is a journey and today’s Gospel takes us on a trip. I remember when our family took trips and used a “AAA Triptik” to plot our way. Now, we’ve got Google maps or similar. However, nowadays we aren’t often “going” anywhere.
The Gospel today gives us our directions, events, destination: “... Jesus took with him Peter and James and John (you and me), and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves.“ Once we get to the top, Jesus transfigures before us with no less than Moses and Elijah, Jesus’ spiritual mentors for how to understand the law and the prophets.
Moses’ mountain trip gave him the Ten Commandments, a set of directions to help form a people to be faithful to God. Elijah’s mountain trip came as a call and an escape from persecution, and at first it was pure frustration, no arranged meeting with God in the wind or fire, just waiting. Then in the silence there was the God of his life.
We are only in the second week of Lent, and maybe it feels like an uphill climb already, but we are in this together. In recent history, Martin Luther King Jr.’s mountain trip was a vision of kinship between all. Amanda Gorman’s mountain trip calls us too: “The hill we climb / If only we dare / It's because being American is more than a pride we inherit, / it's the past we step into / and how we repair it.”
So, is this our destination? This moment of connection to our spiritual and human roots? Are we like Peter ready to set up tents and stay?
Jesus is clear this mountain top experience is not the destination. Our trip has just begun. We are to come down from that mountain (and it often feels like a descent) and do the work required to build a people of God, to watch for the appearance as Jesus transfigures before us in those we live with, meet, see on street corners and hear about in the news. Our trip has barely begun.
As we travel on through Lent, let us recall hearing the voices from the mountain top: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him.” This is our destination, the work of repairing our inner beings, our world of family and friends known and not yet known to us, our natural world which we have treated so badly. Let us continue to travel together in good company with the God of our very being.
Reflection: Bonnie Kearney, RSCJ
Image: photo by Pierre Van Crombrugghe on Unsplash