2nd Sunday in Lent - February 28, 2021 Preaching by Elise D. García, OP Scripture Readings: Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18 Romans 8:31b-34 Mark 9:2-10 In this Second Sunday in Lent as we make our journey toward the Passion of Christ, we, along with three of the disciples, climb Mount Tabor and are given a glimpse, a foreshadowing, of the Resurrected Christ – a dazzling vision of Jesus transfigured. The disciples are awestruck, terrified and confused. Probably as each one of us would be in the face of such a startling vision. On either side of Jesus are two significant figures in God’s journey with the Jewish people: Moses, who led his enslaved people to freedom and received the Commandments; and Elijah, a revered prophet whose return foretold the coming of the Messiah. As Peter speaks of constructing a tent for each of them, a cloud descends, obscuring the dazzling vision and a voice declares, “This is my beloved son, listen to him!” Only Jesus emerges when the cloud lifts. The mystical moment gone. As they climb down the mountain, the disciples know that something extraordinary has just happened but Jesus orders them to say nothing about it, until “the Son of Man has risen from the dead.” And that language, about rising from the dead, only confuses them further. Two images come to me as I have been sitting with this passage. The first is an image of Teilhard de Chardin, writing poignantly in the last year of his life, about having been dazzled by insights on what he came to call Christogenesis and the Divine Milieu and the radiance of love drawing us forward in evolutionary time – toward the Omega. Teilhard wrote of this “wonderful ‘Diaphany’ [a diaphanous epiphany] that transfigured everything for me.” And he expressed his hope that a “re-born” Christianity would provide the driving force in evolution “through the double power, at last fully understood, of its Cross and Resurrection.” 1 The double power – at last fully understood – of the Cross and Resurrection. I got a glimpse of that double power through a second image that has been with me. It comes from an old video interview I recently watched of Dr. Howard Thurman. In the interview, Dr. Thurman, a leading 20th century African-American religious leader and mystic who inspired Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many others, tells the story of being invited to meet with Mohandas Gandhi in the mid-1930s when he and his wife and two other African-American couples from his church were visiting India. This was at the height of Jim Crow in the United States. 2 When the car in which Dr. Thurman was driven pulled up to Gandhi’s abode – a bungalow tent in a large open field – the Mahatma came out to greet Dr. Thurman. Gandhi’s secretary was astonished. The Mahatma never came out to greet visitors; he waited for them to come greet him. The next unusual thing was that Gandhi spent the three hours of their meeting asking Dr. Thurman questions. Usually, it was the visitors who asked the Mahatma all the questions. Finally, as the time was drawing to an end, Gandhi apologized for being the one to ask all the questions and invited Dr. Thurman to ask any he might have. Dr. Thurman inquired about nonviolence and nonviolent resistance and they spoke of that for a while. As the conversation drew to an end, Gandhi said, “Before you go, I want to ask you to do me a favor.” Dr. Thurman said, “Oh, anything.” “Will you sing a song?” Gandhi said. Dr. Thurman confessed that he didn’t sing, but he would try if he knew the song. He then turned to one of his companions saying she was a musician and could probably do it. Gandhi said, “It’s one of your own songs.” Dr. Thurman said, “Which one is it?” Gandhi said, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” That song, Gandhi said to Thurman, “in essence provides the meeting place where all of human suffering and misery is touched by something that lifts it and redeems it and makes it whole.” “So, we stood in this bungalow tent in a large field,” Dr. Thurman said, “and we sang this song while Gandhiji and his little group sat in prayer like this [bowing his head with palms in prayer].” Were you there when they crucified my Lord? “When it was over,” Dr. Thurman said, “there was a long silence, seemed like a thousand years. And then he gave a prayer in his own language and we were readied to go.” The double power – at last fully understood – of the Cross and Resurrection. On our Lenten journey toward the Passion of Christ, we are given a glimpse today of the radiance of divine love, ever-present, ever-near, lifting us up out of the deepest anguish, making us whole. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 https://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~alfar2/Christic.htm 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvJVxsezAwc at 43:00.