The Transfiguration of Our Lord
Readings: 1st: Dan 7: 9-10, 13-14; 2; Ps: 96; 2nd: Pt 1: 16-19; Gos: Mt 17: 1-9
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico, the island of enchantment. He is the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico; the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. For more details and comments contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Today, the eighteenth Sunday of ordinary time, the Holy Mother Church celebrates the feast of transfiguration of the Lord. This feast is one of the immovable feasts of the church. In other words, it is celebrated on the day it falls (6th of August). Providentially, this year, it falls on a Sunday, the day of the Lord.
In today’s first reading, the prophet Daniel presents us with his vision about the “Son of Man.” This vision prefigures Christ, the Son of God who became the Son of Man by virtue of his humility and humanity. Hence, for our sake, and for our glory, the son of God became the Son of Man. Christ is the king of glory, who comes in great splendor and majesty to rule over all nations. And we shall reign with Him in glory.
In the second reading, Peter bears a first hand, and an eye witness testimony about the glory Christ revealed to him and his colleagues. Confidently, he proclaims: “We have seen his majesty ourselves.” He speaks confidently because he had a personal encounter with Christ and saw his glory. So, he insists: “We heard this ourselves (‘this is my beloved son, he enjoys my favor’), when we were with him on the sacred mountain.”
Why would Peter be so confident about this? It is, in order that we ourselves might believe. It is in order that we might know, that we shall share in this same glory of Christ. It is also, that we might persevere. He confirms thus: So that you will be right to depend on prophecy and take it as a lamp for lightening a way through the dark, until the dawn comes and the morning star rises in your mind. Surely, there and then, we shall share in his glory.
In the gospel, Jesus took three of his disciples to the top of a mountain. There, he revealed a glimpse of his glory to them. Glorified with him were, Moses (the law giver), and Elijah (the great prophet). They were glorified with Christ because they overcame. It was also a sign that the Old Testament was not completely forgotten. Their efforts were not in vain. So, they share in the glory of Christ. We shall also share in the same glory, if we overcome.
Saint Theresa of Avila wrote: “The more I meditate on heaven, the more I dislike this world.” Also, Blessed James Alberione wrote: “We should spend our life, with our knees bent on earth, and eyes raised to heaven.” No wonder, the disciples did not want to go down after the majestic and mystical experience they had. They saw the shekinah, the glory of the divine presence. It was so amazing that they wished to remain there forever.
However, they had to come down, because it was only a glimpse of the future glory. Jesus showed them a glimpse of the glory we all shall share. However, this would only be, after sharing His suffering. Therefore, it is the desire for this glory that gives us the courage to face the challenges of this world. It is this desire that helps us to persevere in our faith. This holy, and noble desire must also keep us focused at all time.
So, the core message of the transfiguration of our Lord is quite simple. There is a glory that awaits all believers at the end of time. Also, that like Mosses, Elijah and all the triumphant saints, we too shall reign with Christ, and definitely, share in his future glory.
Peace be with you all!