Our lives are occasionally blessed with wonderful experiences. A beautiful time with our spouse, our children, our friends. A delicious dinner, fun-filled party or very restful vacation. Celebrations of significant anniversaries, times of forgiveness, relief that some grave problem is solved. Such experiences are so magnificent that we never want them to end.
In the Gospel for the Second Sunday of Lent (Mark 9:2-10), Peter, James and John are having an overwhelming experience of Jesus transfigured on Mount Tabor. They are experiencing him in all of his glory. They are being given a glimpse of the victory of his resurrection from the dead, manifested in his radiant face and dazzling garments. It is such a powerful experience that they never want it to end. They want to live in tents on the mountain so that they can bask in its glory for the rest of their lives.
The experience on the mountain was a taste of what would be ahead. Arriving at that glory would require going back down the mountain and accompanying Jesus in his eventual suffering and death. The gift Jesus gave to them through that glorious vision was that in their hearts they could return to that place of victory, hope, strength and encouragement any time.
The season of Lent invites us to return to that mountain of glory and hope. That is what believing in the resurrection of Jesus is all about. The victory of the resurrection is not to stay hidden in our hearts. Its glory is to be manifested through the way we live our lives. We return to the mountain through daily actions of love. Every reception of Holy Communion, all moments of prayer and actions of reconciliation are a return to the mountain. We ascend the mountain as we expand of our radius of care to include concern for those living in material poverty, persons without food or shelter or who are the victims of war.
Lent invites us to return to the mountain by being our best selves through our words and actions. How wonderful to climb the mountain together.