It may seem odd to hear the Gospel of the Transfiguration of Jesus during Lent. Wouldn’t it fit better after Easter? An answer is found a few verses after our Gospel selection. Jesus tells the disciples that he will suffer (Mt. 17:12). The vision of Jesus’ glory shared by Peter, James, and John was meant to help them not to become discouraged by Jesus’ death on the cross. Some of the details in the Gospel can help us understand how Lent leads to Easter. First, we hear about Jesus’ appearance, that “his face shone like the sun” (Mt. 17:2). If the disciples didn’t believe that Jesus was the Son of God before, they surely did now. For us this can be a reminder that God is with us during this season of Lent, helping our faith to grow.
Next, the three disciples see Moses and Elijah, symbols of the Old Testament. Peter wants them to stay, but the voice of God interrupts and tells them that now they should listen to Jesus. The Gospel tells us to keep our eyes on Jesus throughout Lent. Do I grumble about Lent, seeing it is as another set of laws to be obeyed? Perhaps I’m forgetting that Lent is not about how much I do for God, but a time to reflect on what God has done for me. The last line of the Gospel has Jesus telling the three not to tell anyone about their vision until after his resurrection. Maybe the disciples were tempted to brag that they were better than the other followers of Jesus. This reminds us that the sacrifices of Lent don’t just make us look holy; they lead us to the new life of Easter.