Midway through his active years with his disciples Jesus disappointed them by telling them he had no plans to lead a revolt against the Romans. Worse than that, he told them he was going to allow himself to be executed by the Romans. As well, he told them they too would face up to disgraceful deaths. His words seemed to have made their way into the hearts of Peter, James and John, leaving them downcast. As well, Jesus himself, facing up to his fate, was full of sadness.
Seeking some escape from sorrow, Jesus led the disciples to a mountain that would be ideal for getting close to the Father. Taking with him the three disciples who shared his sorrow, Jesus climbed the mountain. As he lost himself in prayer, the disciples lost themselves in sleep.
His communion with the Father brought Jesus the relief he had hoped for. The Gospel story puts what happened in a way we can picture. It says that the floor of heaven, like a trampoline stretched down, taking in Jesus as he hovered off the ground. His temporary entry into heaven make Jesus to shine with a heavenly light, and the light awoke the disciples. In their lore the only two mortals already in heaven were Moses and Elijah, so the miraculous vision treated the disciples to the sight of those two ambling over to chat with Jesus.
Let me point out the mystery underlying the story of Abraham taking Isaac to sacrifice him. I will touch on two details left out of our reading. But first, I take up the name of the mountain they were headed for. It was Moriah. The Book of Chronicles tells us that Moriah was a twin hill to Zion. It was leveled for the temple site.Today’s reading leaves out two other significant details. One is that it was a three-day journey to Moriah, and the Bible uses the number three to alert us to the looming of a mystery. The other detail today’s reading leaves out is that Isaac carried the wood on his back; and when he asked Abraham where the lamb was, Abraham answered that the Lord would provide the lamb.