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The transfiguration

Gospel Reading: Lk 9:28b-36
Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray. While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.

As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But he did not know what he was saying. While he was still speaking, a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.” After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. They fell silent and did not at that time tell anyone what they had seen.

The transfiguration event is a disclosure of the deeper reality about Jesus. When Jesus in the vision is accompanied by Moses and Elijah, it is a pulling back of the curtains of time to show that Jesus is in continuity with all that God has promised and given in the Law and the Prophets. When Jesus stands alone at the end of the story, it is a revelation of the truth that the Law and the Prophets have been fulfilled and magnified in him.

If someone stands on the bank of a lake and gazes into the water, often the glare of sunlight on the water allows only the surface to be seen. If a cloud passes overhead, however, suddenly the surface is made transparent and the depths of the lake are revealed. Just so, the passing overhead of the divine cloud in this passage enables the disciples – and us, the readers – to see past the surface identity into the depths of the full nature of Jesus.

Historically, the earthly Jesus is headed towards his doom on the cross (they are on their way to Jerusalem). But suddenly, we see not a victim, but a victor; not the one despised and rejected by the world, but the one beloved and well pleasing to God.

“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him” (Mt 17:5).

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SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.