August 6, 2010
Daniel 7: 9 – 10, 13 – 14
Peter 1: 16 – 19
Luke 9: 28 – 36
Tradition places the Transfiguration of Christ on Mount Tabor, five miles east of Nazareth. The event takes place about three weeks before the Passion and Death of Jesus.
Peter, James and John are invited to accompany Christ and to witness this extraordinary event. Jesus appears completely transformed, “transfigured.” He appears to the three apostles as He will appear following His Resurrection.
Christ chooses these three members of the Apostolic College so that they will be strengthened to endure the ordeal that awaits them. In turn, they will be asked to strengthen the other followers of Jesus.
In the company of the Lord on the mountain are two important figures from the Old Testament: Moses and Elijah. Why, we might ask, these particular two? There were many other well-known and important people who could have appeared with Christ.
The answer is an important one. Moses represents the Old Covenant, the Old Law; it is called frequently, the “Mosaic Law.” Elijah represents all of the prophets who have come to proclaim the Messiah. Both men represent what came before, what was incomplete, imperfect.
Their presence with Christ at His Transfiguration means that they publically and willingly acknowledge Jesus as the fulfillment of both the Old Law and the Prophets. The Lord Jesus is acknowledged as the New Law, the Perfect Law, the fulfillment of all prophecies.
The response of the apostle Peter is significant and invites an explanation. The chief of the apostolic college is so taken with the splendor and magnificence of what he sees that he wants to remain, which is indicated by his offer to set up three tents or booths.
But the vision does not remain; nor do they. In the accounts found in Mark and Matthew, they leave the mountain with Christ and “return to daily life,” so to speak.
This descent from the mountain remains the apostles and us that the glory of the resurrection will only come after the cross and death of Jesus.
None of us can be considered a genuine and true disciple of the Messiah unless we, like him, carry our daily crosses, both moral and physical.
May this feast of the Transfiguration of Christ strengthen, encourage and inspire us to persevere quietly and with resolve, asking the intercession of Our Lady who accompanied Jesus on his Via Cruces and is also walking with us on our own personal way of the cross.