Dear Followers of the Christ,
We all discover along our spiritual paths various moments that seem to reveal the meaning of our lives. We know that a newborn baby can make us see the world differently. We understand that getting our dream job shines a light on our future with extraordinary brightness. We feel the comfort of forgiveness in our bones or the miracle of healing in our souls. There are moments in our lives and relationships that offer us a glimpse of how life could be and perhaps should be for us all.
We listen to today’s gospel, Matthew 17:1-9, hearing this message of the Transfiguration of Jesus. He takes Peter, James and John up a mountain. Jesus becomes dazzling white, his face shining like the sun and his clothing whiter than any bleacher could get them. This transfiguration re-imagines Jesus in the minds of his disciples. The disciples even see their ancestors in faith, Moses and Elijah. They experience for themselves the presence of the Father telling them to listen to Jesus, his only Son.
In all of the excitement, the disciples begin to be afraid. Jesus tells them, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” These words are a sign of what happened on Easter when an angel told the disciples that Jesus was risen from the dead and to not be afraid.
The entire scene in this gospel leads us to Calvary and to Jesus’ Resurrection. We will see the central images in this text again on Easter. The bright light of Jesus’ transfiguration is nothing compared to the light of Jesus’ Resurrection. This is the light we share from our own baptism. It is also the light we bless during the Easter Vigil and carry into the church to illumine the darkness.
There are many things that we long to be transfigured within our own lives. We wish our son did not have a learning disability and we wait for the day that his disability will be transfigured and his life will illumine hope to others. We wait for our children to discover God in their lives, but we know that will take a long transfiguration. We search for hope when we think we can control our lives. We ache for relief about our daughters being caught in human trafficking or our sons with drug addiction. Life itself is waiting for this moment of transfiguration and love.
Here are some questions to ponder and pray about this week: How am I waiting to hear God’s voice of consolation and peace? What in my life is ready for transfiguration and new life? How can I learn to pray from this gospel passage? What do the words, “Rise, and do not be afraid” mean to me? How can I take these words from Jesus to heart?