by Dale Bascon
Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. 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." Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them.
As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant.
Jesus, in our Gospel today, is transfigured before Peter, James and John, on the top of a high mountain. Moses and Elijah appeared before Him and conversed with Him. Peter, probably ecstatic but not knowing what to say, wanted to stay there. Suddenly, the voice of the Father was heard from a cloud, saying "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him." Then, the vision was no more. Jesus was alone when the three disciples looked again.
The events of the Transfiguration are probably very familiar to us already. But what does this event in Jesus' life try to tell us? What is its significance in the Gospel, in the story of our redemption?
The Transfiguration is a revelation of Jesus' glory. We can note some similarities between this event and that of Jesus' Baptism, where the Father also proclaimed Jesus His only Son. The Father reveals Jesus to us and establishes Jesus' authority.
Moreover, the Transfiguration is a foreshadowing of things to come - Jesus' passion death and resurrection. Just as Jesus was made glorious on a mountain in His Transfiguration, He shall soon be made glorious on Mount Calvary, triumphant over sin in his death and resurrection.
This act of redemption, revealed only in Jesus, has been the plan of God all along. The Law, represented by Moses, and the prophets, represented by Elijah, all find fulfillment in Jesus and in His redemptive act. Jesus, conversing with Moses and Elijah, symbolizes such a great connection between the Old and the New Testaments and it makes one realize how marvelously God prepared our redemption throughout salvation history. The Transfiguration is indeed a glorious moment.
Beholding such glory, the disciples must have been in awe as much as they were terrified. Peter, in confusion, offered to stay there. But that vision, that moment of glory, was not everlasting. They cannot stay there. Jesus knew that He had to come down the mountain and face His mission - to suffer, to die, and to rise again. He had to climb another mountain, that is Calvary. The Transfiguration was not an escape from Calvary. Rather, it was a source of hope and strength for the disciples, and probably for Jesus too, who will be facing so much sufferings and difficulties.
Like Peter, we are often tempted to stay on the mountain of Transfiguration; we dwell in our past successes, refusing to do what remains to be done. But we have a mission to do. We have more mountains to climb. As Christians, we need to understand the great value of suffering. Life is not all resurrection and glory. In His Transfiguration, Jesus shows us that He is glorious because He does the will of the Father, even if it means suffering and stripping off His own glory as the Son of God.
Being faithful to our mission means embracing the pain and suffering that we shall meet. But God will transfigure us and give us strength, because He never abandons those who follow His path; He guides them. It is when we become faithful regardless of suffering that we can finally share in the full splendor and glory of the resurrection, in the life that is to come.
Dale Bascon is a 100% KATOLIKONG PINOY member and is the author of the blog, Lamp Upon Our Feet.