In the Bible, mountaintops are privileged places for encountering God, for having life-changing experiences of God. And so it is no mere coincidence that Jesus brought his disciples up the mountain to see his transfiguration.
We have all had mountaintop experiences, times or moments when we felt God’s presence almost palpably, and we knew with absolute certainty that he was watching over us and guiding us.
- Maybe it was a retreat.
- Maybe it was our first communion.
- Maybe it was when we went to confession for the first time in years, and experienced a fresh start through God’s mercy.
- Maybe it was in the midst of a tragedy, a difficulty, or a sickness.
- Maybe it was one night when you came late to Church to pray, all by yourself.
- Maybe it was simply one day while you were hiking in the mountains and saw an indescribably brilliant sunset.
We have all had mountaintop experiences. And God gave them to us for a reason, just as he gave this one to Peter, James, and John for a reason.
Jesus knew that his passion, crucifixion, and death were coming up. He knew that those events would shake his followers’ faith. He gave them this mountaintop experience of his glory so that later on, when the cross appeared, they could remember it and be strengthened by the memory. Jesus knows that following him is demanding — no one can escape life’s crosses. Following his Commandments requires self-mastery and self-sacrifice.
Today he wants to remind us that even those hardships are part of his plan. Today and throughout this week, he wants us to think about our mountaintop experiences, so that we can renew our faith in his goodness, wisdom, and desire to bless us.
With renewed faith, we will be able to live Lent well, listening to Christ and obeying his will.