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The View from the Mountain

2nd Sunday of Lent, C

Lk 9:28b-36




1. Human Experience


            I love to climb mountains. I have climbed Mt. Apo seven times, and I also like to spend three weeks annually on a mountain in Cebu by myself. There are a lot of people like me who love to climb mountains.


            One of the first climber who reached Mt. Everest, when asked why he loved to climb, answered: “Because it is there.” But what is there in the mountain that attracts people?


            For some, it is the sense of adventure. For others, the mountain is the place where one can feel the presence of God.


            There always a something sacred about the mountain. Natives all over the world go up the mountain to encounter God. It is also the place to encounter the deeper part of one’s self, the place for seeing visions – about one’s true identity and destiny. The native American Indians call it the “vision-quest.” The Asian mystics call “enlightenment.”


            No wonder, many would like to climb Mt. Apo and Mt. Banahaw during holy week.


            If we are lost, we need to go up the higher ground. The mountain provides a perspective for viewing reality and one’s direction in life. But  we cannot stay on top of the mountain forever, we need to come down and fulfill our mission and destiny.



2. The Gospel


            Our Gospel relates to us the story of  Jesus going up the mountain with his close disciples. There he prays during the night. There is a cloud covering the mountain and then he sees a vision of Moses and Elijah. And his face lightens up.


            The cloud symbolizes the presence of the Sacred. Out this experience Jesus understands more deeply his identity and mission. He is the Chosen One of God, the Beloved Son – the messiah sent to free the world from the power of sin and evil. He understands that in order to fulfil his mission, he will have to go through his own exodus. He will have to suffer and die – to pass over from death to life.  His destiny  becomes clearer – the glory of the resurrection, through suffering and death. This realization is his enlightenment – symbolized by his transfiguration.


            With this realization, Jesus comes down from the mountain in order to continue his journey to Jerusalem, the place of the final encounter with the forces of evil.


3. The Challenge for us


            Lent is a time for us to go up our own mountain. It doesn’t have to be a physical mountain. What is important is to enter a space that we can consider sacred – where we can deeply experience God’s presence. This is the time for prayer and for reflection about our life – the vision-quest.


            We need to deepen our awareness about our own identity, mission and ultimate destiny. We need to be aware that we are God’s beloved children and Christ’s disciples. We have a mission of transforming the world – changing the face of the earth, starting with ourselves, in our home, our communit, the workplace and our society. We need to understand what our specific role and mission.


            When we get a deeper insight about our identity, mission, and ultimate destiny, then like Jesus, our faces will truly lighten up and we will have the courage to face all the trials and difficulties in life.