A Gospel Reflection
14th February has a long association with St. Valentine. Born in Terni, Italy, in the early 3rd century AD, Valentine was a Roman priest who suffered martyrdom at the hands of Emperor Clauduis II Gothicus. According to legend, St. Valentine signed a letter ‘from your Valentine’ to his jailer’s daughter whom he had befriended and healed of blindness before his death. The girl subsequently regained her sight to read the note. Nowadays Valentine’s Day is very much associated with love.
In the old Liturgical Calendar this Sunday was known as Quinquagesima (fifty days before the great festival). One of the readings set for the day was 1 Corinthians chapter 13, St Paul’s letter of love – ‘Love is patient. Love is kind. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres’.
In our current liturgy the Gospel reading today retells the story of the Transfiguration in Mark chapter 9 v. 2 – 9. This mysterious reading finds us all at a watershed moment as we prepare to revisit Jesus’ saving work through Lent, Passiontide and Easter. Moses and Elijah appear, referencing the past; Peter makes a characteristic ‘faux pas’ in wanting to preserve the present; and the Father’s voice looks to the future as we are told, ‘Listen to Him’.
As we begin the Interregnum this is a good time to look back at where God has led us thus far, to rejoice that God accepts us (faux pas and all), and to listen to our Saviour as we set our faces towards the future with love in our hearts.
(With thanks to Lucille Henderson for research about St Valentine)