This Gospel shows how many people look at suffering. At the time of Jesus and sometimes today, people tend to associate suffering with committing sin. They think that if a person suffers a lot, he or she has committed many sins against God. Although this might be the case here and there, Jesus goes beyond the physical state of suffering to show that all are invited to turn to God in a radical way. Some suffering may be inflicted by other people, as those whom Herod killed. Or it may be due to an accident, like those on whom the tower of Siloam fell. In either case, those who suffer are not more sinful than those who do not suffer. For Jesus such tragic events are a reminder for all to change their lives and return to God because the time left is short.
In today’s Gospel we meet Jesus at prayer in the company of Peter, James and John. In this experience of prayer, the disciples perceive him in an intimate union with God in such an extraordinary way that even his face is radically changed. They see that Jesus is in the company of Moses and Elijah and understand that he stands in the tradition of Israel’s messengers from God. They also hear a voice from heaven inviting them to listen to Jesus because he is the beloved Son of God. They have not yet understood the important of the event they are living. They will need time to grasp it more fully. This is how faith matures.
We are at the beginning of the public life of Jesus. At his baptism he received the Holy Spirit and heard the Father declare him to be Beloved Son. Soon after the Spirit drove him into the desert. The temptation story summaries different moments in the life of Jesus. Jesus is tempted to question the specific mission he had received as the beloved Son from his Father. In all these instances, he chose to remain faithful to his Father rather than to seek some personal glory through spectacular miracles. Satan leaves him for now, but the final temptation will be Jerusalem, during his passion (Lk 22:3.53).