Context is the key to understanding the Transfiguration story and also the part that it can play in our lives. I hope this video helps you to prepare for your group discussion.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus takes three of his disciples aside and reveals himself to them in his glory as the Son of God. His aim is to strengthen their faith in him as they make the difficult journey to Calvary. Jesus does something similar for us in the Eucharist. He invites us to step aside from our daily chores to pray, to listen to his word and be nourished by him. Strengthened, we go out from Mass ready to take up our journey along the way of the cross.
Acknowledgement of Country
I’d like to begin by acknowledging the _________ people, the traditional custodians of the land on which we are gathered. To acknowledge our gratitude that we share this land today, our sorrow for the costs of that sharing, and our hope that we can move to a place of justice and partnership together.
Please fill us with your spirit of love.
Help us to see the world as you do,
to judge with your heart, and to act with
the strength and courage you have shown us
as we work to transform our world.
Reflecting on Action(s)
Before commencing the Gospel reading, recall the action(s) decided upon at the previous meeting.
- Was/Were the action(s) carried out? Why? / Why not?
- What happened because of the action(s)? Did you become aware of God’s presence in your life and in the situation or event that you addressed through your action(s)?
- Which feelings are stirred in you as you reflect on your part in the action(s)? What do those feelings tell you about the struggle all Christians experience as they respond to the call to follow Christ?
- How Christlike were you in carrying out the action(s)?
Once you have reflected on the action(s) you had committed yourself to doing, then move on the Gospel reading for this meeting. Do so with the hope that you will learn more about the situation you have chosen to reflect and act on during Lent
Read the Gospel aloud in the group and then read it again individually and silently.
Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white.
Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him.
Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud.
Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen. (Luke 9:28-36)
The story of the transfiguration of Jesus is placed between Peter’s declaration that Jesus is the Messiah (Luke 9:20), and Jesus’ prediction of his suffering and death at the hands of the Jewish leaders and the story of the healing of a boy possessed by an evil spirit (Luke 9:37-43). Peter is rewarded for his act of faith by witnessing the transfiguration of his Master on Mount Tabor (long considered to be where the transfiguration took place).
- Follow Jesus in this story. Why did he head off into the hill country with Peter, James and John? What happens to Jesus? What do you make of the links with the Old Testament?
- In what ways is the story of Jesus being transfigured like the story of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments from God on Mount Sinai?
- Follow the actions of Peter, James and John. Why were they with Jesus when he was transfigured before them? How do you interpret the reference to them being tired?
- Return to the situation or event that you have decided to have as a focus for Lent. Bring together the past and the present. What does Jesus teach you about the situation or event through what took place on Mount Tabor?
In this part of our reflection, we focus on the intersection of the Gospel story with our own life story. We seek to be enlightened and to gain direction for our own life in all dimensions. Here are some questions to consider in your group:
- Just imagine Jesus inviting you to go with him up on Mount Tabor as you reflect together on the situation or event you have chosen to consider during Lent. What is his intention? When was the last time Jesus invited you to join him in prayer? What was happening in your life at that time? Try to recall as accurately as possible, what you were feeling at the time and why you were feeling that way.
- The Jews liked to think of the clouds as God’s chariot. God came riding in on the clouds to visit his subjects on earth. What do you consider to be signs of God’s presence in the situation or event you are considering? How often do you associate those signs with Jesus accompanying you as you journey through the day, the week, the month, the year, your life?
- Clearly, the transfiguration was a formative experience for Peter, James and John … and for all people who meet Jesus in the reading of this story. If reflecting together on the presence of Jesus in the situation or event is to be a formative experience for you, how will you be different after encountering him here in this group?
- In the story of the transfiguration of Jesus, Peter, James and John keep to themselves what they have experienced. Why? With whom will you share your story of encountering Jesus, God and man in this group?
In this stage of the Gospel Enquiry, we look for something to do that is small and achievable and that contributes to a much greater change, that is, the transformation of ourselves into followers of Christ Jesus and the transformation of the world. The following questions are offered as a guide in this stage:
- Recall the action you undertook to do as a result of your meeting last week. Reflect on how the story of the transfiguration of Jesus affects how you think about your action(s) coming out of last week’s Gospel Enquiry.
- How will you refine your original action, or seek to re-direct it? Or has your reflection on the transfiguration of Jesus led you to consider a different action? If so, what will your new action(s) be?
- How will you ensure that your action(s) reflect the mind and heart of Jesus?
- Finally, share your reflections on how you have found this meeting. One way of doing this is to share three words: Use one word to sum up a positive aspect of the meeting. Use one word to sum up a negative aspect of the meeting. Use one word to sum up that aspect of the meeting that has challenged you, or caused you to think more deeply about your relationship with Jesus.
teach me to be generous,
to serve you as you deserve to be served,
to give without counting the cost,
to fight without counting the wounds,
to work without seeking rest,
and to spend my life without expecting any other return
than the knowledge that I do your holy will.
Jesus said, “Look how the wild flowers grow; they do not work or make clothes for themselves. But I tell you that not even King Solomon with all his wealth had clothes as beautiful as one of these flowers” (Matthew 6:28-29). How would your life change and be transformed if you accepted the grace to become like one of God’s flowers? Find some time this week to reflect on this with Jesus.