By Sister Martha Pavelsky, MHSH
2nd Sunday of Lent
My first thought as I glanced at the reading from Matthew for the Second Sunday of Lent was, “Who are these guys—Peter, James and John? Such a privilege to see Jesus transfigured—what did they do to earn that?”
As I know them, they are a mixed bag at best: John, the youngest, naïve and devoted and, in the end, made of better stuff than we may have anticipated (he stuck around at the crucifixion unlike nearly all Jesus’ other followers); James, John’s brother and another fisherman; and Peter, a hothead—emotional, vacillating, one whose mouth ran way ahead of his brain. I guess even with God, there’s no accounting for taste.
Why did Jesus choose them as followers, and why take them to witness his transfiguration? There are several scholarly reasons, I’m sure. What I find encouraging is what I call the “Gideon principle.” (See Judges, 7:1-25). God can manage fine without our “skills,” though God occasionally uses us to get a job done—sometimes in spite of all our limitations, not because of our gifts.
There’s a hazard—more than one—to being in such company as the transfigured Jesus: We can get to feeling pretty impressed, not only with what’s happening, but with ourselves. “I must be something outstanding to have been chosen to witness this.”
In reality (and I do recall reading this observation somewhere) this trio may have been most in need of bolstering for the tough times to come, and Jesus may have seen their neediness.
How does being a witness to the love of God help you through hard times?
You may wish to reflect on how Jesus, knowing all your limitations, conflicting desires and faults, still desires you to accompany him.