Tuesday, August 6, 2013

“Nobody can ascend before being transfigured.”

“At his Transfiguration Christ showed his disciples the splendor of his beauty, to which he will shape and color those who are his: ‘He will reform our lowness configured to the body of his glory’” (Philippians 3:21) (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae).

Gospel text: (LK 9:28B-36)
Jesus took Peter, John, and James
and went up a 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. Does it seem somewhat esoteric or perhaps a bit too theological? On this Feast Day we are invited to consider whether the truth it reveals is being embraced and experienced in our own daily lives. It is not meant only for theologians to speculate over- or for mystics alone to encounter. We are all invited into the experience. The path up that mountain proceeds through prayer and encounter. On that Mountain, Jesus revealed before mortal eyes the Transcendent Truth of who He is - and who Peter, James and John - and each one of us - will become in Him. They were invited to exercise their freedom and embrace the path that He had prepared. So are we, right now.

The message that Jesus Transfigured brings to us is the Father's words: «This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him» (Mk 9:7). To listen means to abide by his will, to contemplate his person, to imitate him, to put into practice his advice, to take up our own cross and follow him.

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