Second Sunday of Lent
"Do not tell the vision to anyone..." (Mt 4:1-11)
Matthew's gospel today describes an unimaginable scene. Three disciples - Peter, James, and John - were on a mountain with Jesus. I can only imagine how Jesus' transfiguration affected the disciples. The narration becomes even more unthinkable when Moses and Elijah appear. By now, I would have been in disbelief. But the unspeakable happened, "a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." (Mt. 17:5). I, too, would have prostrated myself just like the disciples, "When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid" (Mt. 17:6).
Interestingly, this verse, "Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead (Mt. 17:9)," could today win the award for the Come on now... statement. I am sure the disciples responded to Jesus with, "Come on now!" I get it. They just saw Jesus transfigured and then the appearance of two legendary prophets. The disciples heard a voice from the cloud telling them to listen to Jesus. And then Jesus tells them not to tell anyone about the vision, Come on now. It is impossible to keep this vision a secret.
I understand that sometimes you must keep the vision of the Lord's work a secret. Servant of God Julia Greeley kept her ministry a secret because whites dislike Blacks. As a formerly enslaved person who accepted the Catholic faith, Greely, a lay woman, was known to gather unwanted or hand-me-down clothes from wealthy families. She then distributed them in her wagon to other families at night. Greely told no one about her ministry. She lived this passage from Matthew's gospel, "when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you" (Mt. 6:3).
What work will you do this week for the Lord secretly?
Author: Evang./Prof. Michael Howard, MACS,
Facilitator, University of Dayton, VLCFF,
The University of Notre Dame, McGrath Institute, STEP Online,
Lead Faculty and Course Designer "The Presence of Black Catholics in the Church Today and Tomorrow" Loyola Marymount University,
Founder of Eat the Scroll Ministry