Glory Behind The Cross

Weekly Missionary Reflection
2nd Week of Lent, 28 February 2021

Gen. 22:1-2,9a,10-13,15-18; Ps. 116:10,15,16-17,18-19; Rom. 8:31b-34; Mark 9:2-10

There is a “Messianic secret” in the Gospel of Mark. Jesus does not want His identity as the Messiah to be revealed too early. There is an “order to keep silent” for those whom He has cured. Disciples and evil spirits are also demanded to keep silent. Jesus does not want to be an instant and shallow foundation of hope. The tone of “secrecy” also appears at the beginning and end of this story. Only the three of His trusted disciples are invited to go up the mountain. The event is not for public. Even as they come down from the mountain, Jesus orders His three disciples to keep this secret. This is different from the moment of Transfiguration itself, when Jesus is “shown off.” In front of them, He is transformed, His clothes are brilliant white, then the voice of the Father announces who He is. Jesus’ identity is completely disclosed, no more secret. Why?

First, to encourage and give hope to His disciples. Let’s imagine, they have spent half of the journey with Jesus, but they still do not understand and are not ready. The path with Jesus to the cross seems too difficult to follow. Therefore, their spirit and hope must be revived. The mystery of the end and the climax of the journey with Jesus must be revealed, even just for a short time. Therefore, the glory of Jesus resurrection begins to be slightly anticipated. The transformed Jesus and His shining clothes refer to the coming risen Jesus. Two of His interlocutors also come “from the other world.” Elijah and Moses: two figures who also died gloriously. Elijah directly went up to Heaven (2Kgs. 2: 9-12). Moses died and was buried by the LORD Himself, but his grave remains a mystery (Deut. 34: 5-7). Perhaps his body was brought by the Lord directly to Heaven. Thus both are believed to be returning back to bring the news of the coming of Messiah’s time. That’s exactly what happens! From heaven a proclamation is heard: “This is My beloved Son.” Jesus is the Messiah, who will suffer and die as an obedient Servant, and will be glorified as the beloved Son of God. Loyalty to God, despite of the blocking cross ahead, will lead all His followers to become the beloved children of God!

Second, to give guidance and direction. The proclamation about the Son is only half of the story. The statement “This is My beloved Son” is immediately followed by the command to “listen to Him.” So, the Father justifies the proclamation and the path taken by Jesus. Jesus’ statement all this time that “His path” and “walking with Him” leads to Cross as it’s its consequence, is true. It is also true about the resurrection, life and glory behind that Cross. That is what the disciples of Jesus have to listen, not other opinions and teachings, including the opinion of Peter who wants to remain in “glory”, without experiencing His cross.

The Church deliberately put this “glorious” story at Lent time. As we contemplate the cross and suffering as an essential part of faith, we should realize that this is only part of the story. The transfiguration of the Lord gives us the spirit and hope that all crosses will lead us to the glory, as the beloved children of the Father.

(Hortensio Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society, Jakarta)

DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER

Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the world salvation. May the Holy Spirit, as the soul of Jesus, also lead and give me the strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.

Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus and the Church, I specially present my prayer to our Pope and Indonesian Church prayer apostles of this month:

For Evangelization intention:
Women of violence victims: We pray for the women of violence victims, so they can get protection and their suffer can be truly felt and get the attention from the community. We pray …

For Indonesian Churches intention:
Family affection: May the Catholic families will be more courageous in learning to live the spirituality of living at home which requires family members to understand each other’s weaknesses and strengthen each other in facing every problem. We pray …

Special Intention for the year of St. Joseph:
Please strengthen our heart in giving service to others, like St. Joseph, as long as you allow us to take part in raising the Son in the holy family of Nazareth. We pray…

Amen

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