Feast of the Transfiguration

In the midst of the Ordinary Time we are invited to join Peter, James, and John as
they behold the transfiguration of Christ.


Transfiguration
The transfiguration of Christ is not a simple metamorphosis. Christ was not changed
from a terrestrial human being to a celestial divine one. Rather, his transfiguration was a
moment in time when the divine glory he had always possessed broke through his humanity
and shone with a brilliance that was blinding. Nothing could prepare the apostles for this
experience, and there was no way to describe it except with cosmic imagery. The brightest
light flashed forth from his countenance, like the birth of a new star. His hair, his garments,
everything about him shone like the sun. Moses and Elijah stood as witnesses to his glory,
and the voice of God confirmed his divinity. It is no wonder the apostles fell prostrate.
Eyewitnesses
Who would believe such an explosion of power and might would have taken place? We
sing of this glory time and time again in the psalms. We proclaim that nothing can stand
before the splendor of the Lord; even mountains melt like wax. Yet when it really appears
we can hardly believe it ourselves. The readings outline the moments when glory was
revealed. The first was reported by the visionary in the Book of Daniel. He was granted a
glimpse of the throne room in heaven. In that scene it is the Ancient One who shines forth
with indescribable radiance. The second moment was the scene of the transfiguration. The
third is hidden in the testimony of the author of the letter of Peter. The pseudonymous
author of the letter was probably a second-generation Christian who may or may not have
shared in the actual vision of the transfigured Lord but who was a witness to faith in his
divine glory. The splendor God manifested in each generation of believers.
We possess the prophetic message
We are the ones who today possess the prophetic message; we are the present-day
eyewitnesses of Christ’s majesty. We too have moments when we might behold his glory
and hear the voice proclaiming his identity, but we need eyes of faith and ears that are open.
We really never really know when God will choose to reveal a glimpse of divine glory. The
disciples probably thought Jesus was merely taking them up a mountain to pray, as he had
done on other occasions. Like them, all we can do is follow Jesus and open ourselves to
whatever God has in store for us.

Deacon Francis

 

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