“Master, It is good that we are here.”
Peter’s confession of Faith:
At Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked his disciples: “Who do you say that I am?” None of them could give a satisfactory answer except Peter, who said, “You are the Christ, son of the Living God.” Jesus told Peter that he still needed to understand the meaning of what he has said. Today’s gospel recalls another insight into the person of Christ, by his own self-revelation of his very nature to the apostles Peter, James and John.
Jesus took them to the mountain and there in their presence he was transfigured. The heaven opened, Moses and Elijah were seen conversing with him. This experience had a Transforming and lasting impact on his followers. Peter cried out, “It is wonderful for us to be here, let us build three tents here, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” It is something like St. Paul saying, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ?” The disciples may have thought that they would remain forever in ecstatic bliss. But soon afterwards Luke tells us “Jesus was found alone” (v 36). The time would come when Jesus would suffer and they would need to recall the memory of Mount Tabor to encourage one another. The voice from the cloud addressed them, “This is my beloved son, listen to him.” We will understand transfiguration when we realize that we are all disfigured in some way. The whole healing ministry is about transfiguration, transfiguring the disfigured humanity.
He Started to Change:
Let us look this event from another perspective. People around Jesus expected that he would change their situation and living conditions; that he would change the world, which in their imaginations what the Messiah would do. That was in a way, even the devil wanted him to do: change the stones of this world into bread; reverse the law of gravity and become famous; and rule the world as no one ever ruled before. That is what his disciples also wanted him to do.
He came into this world to reconcile and transform the disfigured humanity with God, to regain the lost paradise for us, to show us the way to the Father, who loves us and to accompany us on our journey to heaven. He identified with the humanity and had all the expressions that we have, except the false ones. His face often showed weariness; think of the time he fell asleep in the boat. His face showed disappointment: when the Nazarenes rejected him. It showed anger: when he cleansed the temple. It showed gentleness: when the children. It showed compassion: when he saw that the people were like sheep without a shepherd; It showed sadness: when he cried on the way to the grave of his friend Lazarus. It showed fear and anguish: in the garden. It showed pain: on the cross. It was pale and frozen: when he was dead. The face he showed on Tabor was indeed a very special one, but it was not the only face of Christ. Gospels tell us that behind all these faces lay the person of Christ, human like us (Except sin) but carrying within him also the splendor of his divinity.
The Pilgrimage to Tabor:
God’s mystery surrounds us though we are given glimpses of it. These glimpses are a given grace. How is that transformation or transfiguration to take place? For a transfiguration experience we need to appreciate silence, the capacity for attentive listening, of looking with reverence and of entering into the silence of God.By listening to Jesus, listening to all that he invites us to be and to do, however much it may seem to go against the conventions we were brought up on. It means especially listening to those words, which caused such difficulty and challenge for Peter and his companions and integrating them into my own vision of life. It means having a total trust in walking his Way, a total trust that only his Way brings me into full union with God, the source of all Truth, Love, Happiness and Peace.
Our true greatness is a matter of faith. It is hidden from us. Christ gave his disciples a glimpse of his inner glory on Tabor. He was the new Moses, the lawgiver. He was the new and final prophet- the one who is the very Word of God made flesh. He is the presence of God among us- Emmanuel, God with us. He is God’s son, the visible manifestation of the invisible. All we have to do is to listen to him and follow him. One day as St. Paul says, ‘he will transfigure our lowly bodies into copies of his glorious body.’ Meanwhile, like Abraham, we have to live by faith. The faith that assures us that behind the most ordinary human faces lie a son or a daughter of God, a brother or a sister of Christ.
Christianity is the religion of light.The Word who became flesh is the light that illuminates every man and every woman. It is mystic light at Nazareth at the annunciation, light in Bethlehem with angels and the star, light at the Jordan River with the dove of the Spirit, light on Mount Tabor, light at Easter and light of eternity. Let us not make three tents, but we should be the tents for the Father son and the Holy Spirit to dwell in us, for us and with us.
The three transformations in our journey towards eternity: The first transformation in our lives begins at Baptism, which washes away original sin, transforming us into children of God and heirs of heaven. The second transformation takes place through our victory over the trials and tribulations of life. Every challenge, every difficulty, every moment of suffering, is an opportunity for transformation and spiritual growth. The third transformation takes place at death. Eternal life in Heaven, perhaps after a period of further transformation in Purgatory, is granted to those who have been found worthy. The last transformation or transfiguration will be completed at the Second Coming when our glorified body is reunited with our soul.