Fr Thomas’ Reflection for the 2nd Sunday of Lent

Mountain Top

A few days ago, with some of my priest friends, I went up Mount Gibraltar in Southern Highlands to various lookouts.  After a period of introspection in a retreat centre, viewing the panorama from a mountain top was a fitting finale for the program.  The amazing views remind you the glory of God.  After marvelling at the wonders from the mountain top, we drove down the mountain and headed home, with images in mind as well as in our cameras to continue reminiscing the experience.

A Mountain Top event narrated in the Gospel of Mark provided a wider and far more reaching vision to the disciples of Jesus.  Peter, James, and John saw Jesus in his glory accompanied by Moses and Elijah. The vision was so seductive that Peter wanted to continue living in the vision.  More importantly the truth about Jesus was revealed to his disciples.

The Law of Moses, the first five books of the Bible, were the foundation of the Biblical religion.  The Israelites organised their community and celebrated their religion according to the Law of Moses.  At the top of Mount Sinai Moses received the Ten Commandments for the people of God. Moses represented the foundation of religion.  Elijah and other prophets were Godsent people, with messages of hope, and agents of reconciliation with God. They revealed God’s love and compassion for the people even when they were ungrateful to God and disloyal to him.  Elijah standing on the top of Mount Carmel, provided a wider and more far reaching vision for the people ravaged by drought and famine that God may punish his people to assist their conversion, but will not abandon his people.   The prophets were instrumental in the rebuilding of the Israelites whenever that was necessary.  Thus they became the second foundation of the religion.  Both the Law of Moses and the prophets were guidance for the people on how to be faithful to the God of Covenant.  But they could not provide the reign of God which they were promised.

In the person of Jesus the promise of the reign of God has come true.  He is the beloved Son of God. His words can created the people anew in a way no other can.  Therefore, listen to him.  This is the revelation the disciples had at the mountain top of transfiguration. If the set of rules and regulations provided by Moses and the prophets helped the bonding of the community in the name of God, a personal relationship with Jesus the Son of God provides the reign of God.  Listening to Jesus is a personal bonding with him.

Now though the physical presence of Jesus as a man is not available for us to make bonding with him, the body of Christ formed by the Holy Communion of the faithful forming the Church, provides the continuing presence of Jesus.  Listening to the word of the Holy Church is listening to Jesus in person.  With Jesus you will be able to look at the panorama of life from the mountain top of Calvary, with a vision so far and wide that nothing else would match.  To be with the Church is to be with Jesus and vice versa.  Climb the mountain top of Calvary with Jesus this lent through fasting, prayer and acts of compassion.