Aug 6 – Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord
Today we celebrate the occasion on which Christ revealed Himself in shining splendour to Peter, James, and John. Moses and Elijah were present, and are taken to signify that the Law and the Prophets. They testify to Jesus as the promised Messiah. God the Father also proclaimed him as such, saying, “This is my Beloved Son. Listen to him.” For a moment the veil is drawn aside, and men still on earth are permitted a glimpse of the heavenly reality, the glory of the Eternal Triune God.
As I watched:
Thrones were set in place
and one of great age took his seat.
His robe was white as snow,
the hair of his head as pure as wool.
His throne was a blaze of flames,
its wheels were a burning fire.
A stream of fire poured out,
issuing from his presence.
A thousand thousand waited on him,
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
A court was held
and the books were opened.
And I saw, coming on the clouds of heaven,
one like a son of man.
He came to the one of great age
and was led into his presence.
On him was conferred sovereignty,
glory and kingship,
and men of all peoples, nations and languages became his servants.
His sovereignty is an eternal sovereignty
which shall never pass away,
nor will his empire ever be destroyed.
2 Peter 1:16-19
It was not any cleverly invented myths that we were repeating when we brought you the knowledge of the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; we had seen his majesty for ourselves. He was honoured and glorified by God the Father, when the Sublime Glory itself spoke to him and said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour.’ We heard this ourselves, spoken from heaven, when we were with him on the holy mountain.
So we have confirmation of what was said in prophecies; and you will be right to depend on prophecy and take it as a lamp for lighting a way through the dark until the dawn comes and the morning star rises in your minds.
Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone by themselves. There in their presence he was transfigured: his clothes became dazzlingly white, whiter than any earthly bleacher could make them. Elijah appeared to them with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus. Then Peter spoke to Jesus: ‘Rabbi,’ he said ‘it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ He did not know what to say; they were so frightened. And a cloud came, covering them in shadow; and there came a voice from the cloud, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.’ Then suddenly, when they looked round, they saw no one with them any more but only Jesus.
As they came down from the mountain he warned them to tell no one what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. They observed the warning faithfully, though among themselves they discussed what ‘rising from the dead’ could mean.
His clothing became brilliant as lightning
In the past two years or so since I left my full-time job, I have had to go through a great deal of waiting. There was the months-long wait for approval to commence my Masters research project, for approval of visa documents to study in Australia, and for news of my job interviews (unsuccessful). The longest wait took place this year, for the outcome of my application to do a full-time PhD (successful). Even now, at this time of writing, I am awaiting news of my application for a room on campus. All these periods of fretting and repeated refreshing of my inbox were fraught with more worry than faith and hope. Although I knew that theoretically, I could place my hope in the Lord, there is always a tendency for the mind to dwell on the uncertainties of what is to come, and to be gripped by what feels more accessible and real — fear.
Today’s readings all proclaim the glory of our Lord and the eternity of God’s kingdom. In Bishop Barron’s Catholicism, he spoke about our hope that when our bodies are resurrected, we too will become transfigured like Christ. Even as witnesses of the transfiguration, Peter, James and John did not quite understand what it meant when it happened, only that it was such a wonderful encounter that Peter suggested making tents so as to prolong the experience. However, it ended unexpectedly, and they would have to endure multiple trials and tribulations before they could come close to this eternal glory again.
In a sense, our time on earth is like a long period of waiting to meet the Lord, during which we make preparations according to Jesus’ instructions. The period of waiting is punctuated with times of both uplifting grace and debilitating suffering. May His grace sustain us through the difficult times during this pilgrimage.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Edith Koh)
Prayer: We pray that we can find that peaceful centre in our hearts during times of stress and frustration with people and/or events.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for Jesus reaching out to catch us whenever we cry out to Him for help.