Feast of the Transfiguration
August 6, 2021
“Let us ask God, through the intercession of Mary, Teacher of faith and contemplation, to enable us to receive within us the light that shines brightly on the face of Christ, so that we may reflect its image on everyone we meet.”
– Saint Pope John Paul II, Sunday, August 6, 2000 (Remarks on the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord)
Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration – that moment on the mountain that Jesus is transfigured and shines radiantly in glory on the mountain, the foretelling of the glory of the Lord as God and his Ascension into heaven. Jesus took three apostles – Peter, James, and John – up beautiful, high Mount Tabor, covered with green trees and shrubs, to pray. They must have wondered “why are we climbing this mountain to pray?” This journey with Jesus, as it turns out, proved to be one of the pinnacles of Christ’s earthly life.
The mountain is symbolic of our journey through life to heaven. It’s a journey that requires focus and drive, commitment and resolve. And from the top of that mountain, we look toward heaven, that elevated place, away from our ordinary lives. We can anticipate the glory of heaven, where we will meet God face to face.
What a sight it must have been. Jesus shining with bright rays of light. In the accounts, it is stated that it was a supernatural light and that His clothing was whiter than white. Moses, the great Law-giver, and Elijah, the great Prophet, appeared and began talking to Jesus. They talked about Jesus’ suffering and death after entering Jerusalem before his resurrection. And then a voice, described to be God, calls Jesus his “Son” and asks them to “listen to Him.”
When one stops to take it all it, it is an overwhelming thought. What was Peter thinking? What was he experiencing? To be present in that moment must have been something else! That moment gave Peter the briefest glimpse into Jesus’ divinity. Peter’s immediate response was to build three tents, one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah – inviting them to remain there and perhaps hoping that this could be a more permanent gathering. But that was not to be.
For us today those words spoken by God ring truer than ever. It is important to block out the static and noise that can be seen and heard twenty-four hours a day from various news outlets on the tv and found on the internet and to “listen to Him.” The Transfiguration gave the apostles a glimpse into what their final destiny was. The words and messages spoken by Jesus speak to us, guide us, and offer us life-giving and life-changing opportunities. No matter the difficulties or what must be endured on our journey up the mountain, the glory of God makes all the crosses we endure all worth it!