The transfiguration makes a lot of sense in the season of Lent, and understanding its nexus with the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ would help us have a rich Lenten experience.
When Moses and Elijah appeared on the mountain and conversing with our transfigured Saviour, the gospel of Luke tells us that they were speaking of his “DEPARTURE” which he was to accomplish in Jerusalem. Now, the word departure as a translation in its original text gives us the term “Exodus”. Exodus actually means departure, in other words. This exodus was to be accomplished in Jerusalem, according to their conversation (Jesus, Moses, and Elijah). What does this really mean? And why are Moses and Elijah discussing it with him? The answer is simple but significant:
In the Old Testament, the Prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, over and over again depict the future age of salvation as a new Exodus. When God comes in the future to save his people, he would save them in ways that are similar to the way he saved them at the time of Moses. And Jesus in Luke chapter 9 is the one who would inaugurate that Exodus and accomplish it. Now, this New Exodus is very similar to the Old, and at the same time different from the old. Both of them are similar because they involve a journey that has a beginning and an end, and it is a journey that sets the people of God free and brings them home to the PROMISED LAND. However, they are different in their location and their destiny. The old exodus begins in Egypt and ended in Jerusalem (Promised land), whereas Jesus’ exodus begins in Jerusalem (where the old exodus ended) and would end in the heavenly promised land (heavenly Jerusalem). That is why Luke’s gospel ends with Jesus not only being raised from the dead but also his ascension into heaven. Therefore, this exodus or departure is the death, resurrection, and ascension into the heavenly promised land. Therefore, the exodus he wishes to accomplish is the heavenly exodus and not the earthly exodus – a transcendent reality, a greater exodus. The only way to do that is through the cross.
That is why the Church in her wisdom already offers us this reality on the second Sunday of Lent giving us a projection of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven.
© By Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Loreto, Vila Medeiros, São Paulo
firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
PS: Have you prayed your Rosary today?
Lord open our minds, hearts and ears to appreciate remonstration daily granted to us.