AUGUST 6. The Transfiguration. Mk. 9. 2-10
Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone by themselves. There in their presence he was transfigured: his clothes became dazzlingly white, whiter than any earthly bleacher could make them. Elijah appeared to them with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus. Then Peter spoke to Jesus: ‘Rabbi,’ he said ‘it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ He did not know what to say; they were so frightened. And a cloud came, covering them in shadow; and there came a voice from the cloud, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.’ Then suddenly, when they looked round, they saw no one with them any more but only Jesus.
As they came down from the mountain he warned them to tell no one what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. They observed the warning faithfully, though among themselves they discussed what ‘rising from the dead’ could mean.
There is a very important lesson for all Christians contained within the Transfiguration, and that is the need to be prepared for suffering and difficulty, and to see this as a normal part of the Christian’s vocation.
The reason Christ called his closest Apostles up on the mountain “where they could be alone by themselves,” was to strengthen their Faith, so it would be strong enough to support them in the coming days; - when they would have to witness Christ’s Passion and Death!
The Church at this time was very fragile and Peter, James and John were the key leadership group who would have to encourage the other disciples during what would clearly be seen as a crisis; - when their Saviour and Messiah would be crucified and buried!
It is hard to imagine the devastation this event would cause for the Church’s founding members and there is only one way they could deal with it; - with a deep and strong Faith!
This is why Christ planned the Transfiguration; - to ensure their Faith was strong, and they would have the ability to support their fellow founding Christians.
“There in their presence he was transfigured: his clothes became dazzlingly white, whiter than any earthly bleacher could make them. Elijah appeared to them with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus…… And there came a voice from the cloud, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.’”
This would have been an experience never to be forgotten, - and it would have strengthened their Faith enormously for what lay ahead; - when Christ was crucified on a Cross, and buried in a tomb!
Fortunately for us, this is how Christ treats all his followers; - in that he periodically gives us periods of intimacy and consolation; - so we will have the strength and faith needed to bear our own Cross; - in whatever form it takes.
Christ’s teachings made it clear all his followers would have to endure suffering in reparation for sin, but he did not just preach this need; - rather he went ahead of us, giving us an example!
‘If any man has a mind to come my way, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me!’
Gospel Acclamation Mt17:5
This is my Son, my beloved, in whom is all my delight:
listen to him.