Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

First Reading: Daniel 7:9-10,13-14

Second Reading: 2 Peter 1:16-19

Gospel: Matthew 17:1-9

Today, we are celebrating the Feast of the Transfiguration. The word ‘transfiguration’ is derived from the Latin word transfigurare for the Greek word metamorphosis which means “change of form and appearance.” Jesus takes Peter, James and John up the high mountain of Tabor where the glory of His destiny is revealed to them. It is the glory that belongs to Him as God’s beloved Son. Transfiguration is the foretaste of heaven. This is signified by His dazzling white clothes.

Moses and Elias are seen talking to Jesus about His death which He is to suffer in Jerusalem. This is seen by the three apostles. The three are wondrously delighted with this glorious vision and Saint Peter cries out to Christ: “Lord, it is good for us to be here! Let us make three tents, one for Thee, one for Moses, and one for Elias.” Peter is overwhelmed and terrified by the experience, yet he does not want it to end. Then, they hear the voice of the Father who says to them: “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.” This moment is given to them to help them realize the true identity of Jesus. That Jesus is the true Messiah, the Son of the living God. This conversation of Jesus with Elijah and Moses has shown us that Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. His mission is not to destroy the ways in which the Father has already revealed Himself but to bring this revelation to completion.

In the first reading we are given a glimpse of the glory of God with thousands upon thousands ministering to Him and myriads upon myriads attending Him. But then we see one like a Son of Man being presented who also receives dominion, glory, and kingship.

In the Transfiguration, this glory is now revealed through the radiance of our Lord. To show the Jewish people this is not a false image, we see Moses and Elijah with Jesus. These two represent not only the Law and the prophets but both were also privileged to witness the glory of God.

Now, in our turn, we must also know how important this feast is for us. Perhaps we have grown accustomed to the fact that Jesus is God and, therefore, pay it little attention. God allows us to see His glory revealed through His Son, but like the apostles on Mount Tabor, God is awakening us to greater faith because we are not merely spectators beholding this event from a distance. No, you and I are brought into this mystery: Allow God’s glory to overshadow you, hear the voice of the Father, and believe in Jesus Christ, God made man!

Another possible reason for this display was that Jesus wants to strengthen these three apostles for the trials of faith that they would have to face and endure at Mt. Calvary.

God sometimes gives us moments of consolation and joy. We want this never to end. But that is not our lot here on earth. Before enjoying glory, we must first undergo suffering. But these moments of consolation will help us to go on, to persevere in spite of dryness and difficulties.