Matthew 17: 1 – 9
Six days later, three of them saw that glory. Jesus took Peter and the brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain. His appearance changed from the inside out, right before their eyes. Sunlight poured from his face. His clothes were filled with light. Then they realized that Moses and Elijah were also there in deep conversation with him.
Peter broke in, “Master, this is a great moment! What would you think if I built three memorials here on the mountain—one for you, one for Moses, one for Elijah?”
While he was going on like this, babbling, a light-radiant cloud enveloped them, and sounding from deep in the cloud a voice: “This is my Son, marked by my love, focus of my delight. Listen to him.”
When the disciples heard it, they fell flat on their faces, scared to death. But Jesus came over and touched them. “Don’t be afraid.” When they opened their eyes and looked around all they saw was Jesus, only Jesus.
Coming down the mountain, Jesus swore them to secrecy. “Don’t breathe a word of what you’ve seen. After the Son of Man is raised from the dead, you are free to talk.”
Transfiguration is about Jesus and about us. When we are with him, we are with the divine. When he is with us, he is with the human. His love, grace, sacraments, peace and compassion can transfigure us. And then we look at those around us and see from the inside out, as people capable of transfiguration. Be present in prayer to light and brightness; allow light invade your body and know that the light of Jesus given in baptism is never extinguished.
One of my favourite prayers is the ‘Glory Be to the Father.’ It dates from a time when I prayed over the gospel account of the transfiguration, and felt for a few moments the brightness of God come over me in a deep lightness of spirit and joy. I stayed like that feeling a nearness to the brightness of God and prayed the ‘Glory Be.’ That is why I say it many times every day. The words of praise to the Trinity have their source for me in a quiet prayer on a retreat about forty years ago! Strange how moments of prayer can last so long!
Jesus did not want fear to cause the disciples to miss the meaning of God’s message. The voice from the cloud had a simple message for Jesus and for us.
Jesus saw that there was a time for silence and a time to speak. I ask God to help me to know which is appropriate – and when. I may draw strength from considering how I have been able to show restraint in the past.