A reflection on the Feast of the Transfiguration by Mother Maria-Michael Newe, OSB.
This morning at Mass, we heard the account of what happened at the Transfiguration (Luke 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.” We also prayed this morning in Lauds, “The unfolding of your word gives light.” (Ps 119) In the Transfiguration we see that as God's Word unfolded, the glory became radiant.
It doesn’t say how long the apostles were asleep. We don’t know how long Jesus, Moses, and Elijah were conversing. It could have been half a day, it could have been a whole day. But we do know that Jesus’ glory was apparent at this moment. And what were they talking about? His exodus. It reminds one of His passion and the cross. How humble Jesus was. It was through the law (represented by Moses) and the prophets (represented by Elijah) that He saw how He would accomplish saving mankind. But without that, He may have been discouraged. So powerful was His death that He had to be told of His resurrection too.
I think that’s true of us all. We need to be reminded that suffering is not a sign of God’s rejection, but a sign of His embrace. It is through suffering that our soul becomes as radiant as Christ. We all need encouragement. If Christ was encouraged, how much more do we need encouragement in those moments!
We heard in today’s second reading (2 Peter 1:16-19) how Peter experienced the Transfiguration when he says, “We possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” Christ is that morning star.