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The transfiguration

Gospel Reading: Mt 17:1-9

Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, “Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

REFLECTION A Flicker in the Dark
Married couples are often advised to go on honeymoon when misunderstandings and difficulties threaten their blissful life together. “Relive the happy moments of your honeymoon,” they are told, “so that you will have the strength to cope with the problems you face today.”

In the same manner, Fr. Luigi Zanoni, former superior general of the Society of St. Paul, would tell the novices to look back on their first taste of religious life in the novitiate when they would later be beset by problems threatening their vocation. He often pointed to the novitiate as the religious “honeymoon” with the Lord. There, one who wishes to follow Jesus experiences the sweetness of the intimate moments with the Lord in prayer.

In the Gospel, Jesus allows Peter, James, and John to have a taste of his glory. He shows them that in him the prophecy of Elijah and the Law of Moses are fulfilled. He does this not to attract more followers but to reveal the meaning of his life. He wants to prepare his disciples for his suffering, crucifixion, and death. He knows that they will find the experience very painful and that his crucifixion will weaken their faith. And yet all these have to take place.

Jesus’ transfiguration is akin to a honeymoon. It is a glimpse of the glory that awaits the disciples. It is the moment that would give them the courage to face suffering, persecution, and death. It is a promise that Jesus’ suffering and theirs will end in glory.

In The Letter from Taizé, Bro. Roger writes, “For those who are marked by suffering and by the cross of Christ, the day will come when they will be able to burn with the flame that is fed with all their past life. They will know that in God nothing is lost… When darkness gathers, his love is a fire.”

Indeed, surrounded by the darkness of sorrow and suffering, a Christian has little difficulty seeing the light beyond.

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SOURCE: “365 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.

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