Week 2


Years ago, when I was carrying out research into religious education teachers’ personal constructs of revelation, one participant described to me her “Tabor” experience, meaning her encounter with the risen Christ. That brief, momentary experience changed her life profoundly. Her story bears witness to Pope Francis’ teaching about being accompanied by grace. He said in a homily he gave in 2013: “When God touches a person’s heart, he gives a grace that lasts a lifetime….” Like Peter, James and John, she left everything and followed Jesus. 

In a similar vein, Fr Joseph Cardijn addressed those who gathered for the First International Congress of the YCW in Brussels in 1935 and spoke about the Three Truths. The Truth of Faith is a life lived in union with Christ risen and glorified. As Cardijn described it, this life is a fusion of the disciple’s temporal and divine destinies experienced and expressed in the present. And is this not the experience of Peter, James and John on that mountain, where Jesus was transfigured before them?

The Gospel 

Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone by themselves. There in their presence he was transfigured: his clothes became dazzlingly white, whiter than any earthly bleacher could make them. Elijah appeared to them with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus. Then Peter spoke to Jesus: ‘Rabbi,’ he said ‘it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ He did not know what to say; they were so frightened. And a cloud came, covering them in shadow; and there came a voice from the cloud, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.’ Then suddenly, when they looked round, they saw no one with them any more but only Jesus.

As they came down from the mountain he warned them to tell no one what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. They observed the warning faithfully, though among themselves they discussed what ‘rising from the dead’ could mean. (Mark 9:2-10)

The Enquiry 


  • What happens here? Create a timeline or a storyboard to capture the elements of the story. Make notes about the elements that intrigue you, puzzle you, challenge you in any way. Have you ever had an experience like this? Or encountered the risen Christ in any event in your life?
  • Why do you think this event happened? And why is it described in this way? Why do Moses and Elijah appear and converse with Jesus? And why does God speak from the cloud? Are there cultural and theological elements here to be considered? 
  • What does Jesus say to Peter, James and John as they come down the mountain? Why does he direct them in this way? How do they respond? How important is this part of the story to your experience of the world? Do you have experiences of the past, present and future in the one moment of encounter? And what has happened in your life because of this encounter? 


  • Why did Mark’s community need to hear this story? What was happening that threatened their faith in Jesus? And what about the world you experience: Why is this story important to Christians today? And during Lent?
  • What does your faith tell you about the identity of Jesus? How is what you believe about Jesus affirmed by this story? How is your faith challenged by this story? 
  • Joseph Cardijn taught young workers that “the eternal destiny of each human being is incarnate, develops, and is achieved in temporal life always and everywhere – on earth as it is in heaven.” How is this teaching supported by Mark’s account of the transfiguration of Jesus? If you have never thought about your own life in this way before, what does this insight offer you now? 


  • What needs to change in the world so that Jesus’ transfiguration impacts the lives of people around you in the way it impacted the lives of Peter, James and John? 
  • What small action can you take that will contribute to bringing about this change? When and where will you carry out the action and how often? 
  • Who can you involve in your action and how and when will you get them to participate in your action?

Author: Pat Branson 

Image source: Slices of Light / Flickr / CC BY ND NC

Worth reading: 

Joseph Cardijn. Challenge to Action: Forming Leaders for Transformation Pope Francis (2015). Encountering Truth: Meeting God in the Everyday.

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