The Glory of the Transfiguration

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

Readings for Today

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Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Mark 9:5–7

Just prior to the Transfiguration, Jesus began to reveal to His disciples that He would suffer greatly, be rejected by the elders, be killed and then rise on the third day. This caused much fear for the disciples as they grappled with this unsettling revelation from our Lord. And even though Jesus remained firm with them and even rebuked Peter for his fear, Jesus also gave three of His disciples a very precious gift.

After much traveling, preaching, miracle working and private conversations about His passion with the Twelve, Jesus invited Peter, James and John to go with Him up a high mountain to pray. These disciples most likely had no idea what they would soon encounter. As they made the difficult and arduous journey, their minds must have been pondering not only the mighty deeds done by Jesus in the previous months but also His words about the suffering to come. As they struggled with this, much to their amazement, Jesus “was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white.” Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared before them, representing the Law and the prophets. These two Old Testament figures appeared as a way of saying to these disciples that everything that Jesus was telling them was to take place to fulfill all that had been foretold about Him from of old. Perhaps Jesus thought that if His disciples would not fully listen to Him, then seeing Moses and Elijah would help. But Jesus went even further. The Voice of the Father Himself thundered and said, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Thus, if these disciples would not ultimately listen to Jesus alone, or if even Moses and Elijah failed to convince them, then the last hope was the Father Himself. And Jesus delivered such a grace.

The Transfiguration was a true mercy. These disciples had never seen anything like it before. But it was most likely this act of mercy that ultimately helped them to accept the hard truth that Jesus was trying to teach them about His coming suffering and death. If the Father in Heaven Personally gave witness to Jesus, then everything that Jesus had said was trustworthy.

As we read through the Gospels and the many teachings God has given us through the Church, think about whether there are some teachings with which you struggle? Or in your own life, on a personal level, are there some things you know God wants of you but you find it difficult to accept? When confusion sets in, that means we are not listening, are not fully hearing what God is saying to us or are not understanding. And though we will not see the Transfigured Lord with our eyes and hear the Voice of the Father with our ears as these three disciples did, we must choose to believe all that God has said as if it were the Transfigured Lord, with Moses and Elijah, and the Father Himself speaking clearly and directly to us. “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Those words were not only spoken for the good of the disciples, they are also spoken to us.

Reflect, today, upon this powerful experience given to these disciples by our Lord. Try to place yourself in the scene so as to witness Jesus transfigured in the most glorious way, with Moses and Elijah and with the thundering Voice of the Father. Allow the Father to speak also to you, telling you that all He has spoken through the Scriptures, the Church and within your own conscience is true. Allow this revelation to convince you on the deepest level to acknowledge not only the divinity of Jesus but also to “Listen to Him” in every way.

My transfigured Lord, You are glorious beyond imagination, and You revealed a small glimpse of this glory to Your disciples to help them trust You more fully. May I also trust in You more completely, knowing that all You have spoken to me is true. Please remove any doubt and fear in my life so that nothing keeps me from embracing Your holy will. Jesus, I trust in You.

More Gospel Reflections

Divine Mercy Reflections

Scripture Meditations for Ordinary Time

All Saints/Feasts

Feast of the Day – Transfiguration of the Lord

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Featured image above: Transfiguration By Duccio di Buoninsegna, via Wikimedia Commons