Year B: Second Sunday of Lent
The Gospel: Mark 9: 2-10
From all the Gospel accounts, we know that Jesus spent a good deal of time alone in prayer - but on this occasion chooses to take with him Peter, James and John. They witness something that fills them with such awe and fear that, as Mark records, Peter did not even know what he was saying.
We have all had experience of a silence that unnerved us - and anything that is said falls like a lead balloon - and, probably, on reflection, Peter would have preferred to have said something much more holy! However, his reaction is like that of most of us when we encounter something awe-inspiring - or something which moves us deeply - we donít know what to say - and anything we do say sounds wrong.
The encounter grows even stronger when they hear the voice of God saying that this man is His Beloved, His Son and that they should listen to him.
How could anyone react at such a moment? On the heights of a mountain and seeing and hearing the divine. Like Moses, Peter, James and John had to try and make sense of something beyond any experience they had ever had - and which most people would never even dream could happen. This work would occupy the rest of their lives - but at this point in the Gospel they are still in the very early days of working out who Jesus is.
At the end of the experience, Jesus tells them not to speak of it until he has risen from the dead. They agreed and Mark says that they honoured their promise - although between themselves, they discussed what that phrase risen from the dead could mean.
It is a measure of how far they still had to go that they were puzzled by this. Only a few chapters earlier in Markís Gospel, these same disciples were the ones Jesus chose to accompany him into the room where Jails daughter lay - and saw him raise her to life.
They were witnessing things that their lives to that point had not prepared them for - they were learning that Jesus was the point at which the human and divine met - and what could prepare anyone for that?
What does it mean for me?