The Transfiguration of Jesus

Matthew 17: 1-9
Dn 7: 9-10. 13-14 / Ps 97 / 2 Pt 1: 16-19

Lord, it is good for us to be here.
(Matthew 17:4)

It may feel good to just remain
In the safety of God’s mountain,
But if His grace we seek to gain,
God’s fields are waiting in the plain.

Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three tents—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” (Matthew 17: 1-9)

Reflection

What a terrifying moment it must have been for Peter, James and John when they heard the voice of God thundering from the clouds atop Mt. Hebron. And yet, how good it must have felt to be so near to heaven. So much so that Peter wanted to stay there longer, as he urged the Master to allow them to build three tents for Him, Moses and Elijah. But Jesus had not brought them to this peaceful place to escape, or to take a short vacation from their ministry. He had come here to be recharged, as the day of His Mission’s culmination drew near. He needed this divine encounter before His crucifixion. He needed to hear His Father’s voice for reassurance, that He was pleased with Him, and that He loved Him. Coming down from the mountain, our Lord was ready to face His tormentors and the jaws of death in another mountain. Moses and Elijah, God’s greatest prophet and greatest leader had been sent to reassure Him of the glory that awaited Him upon the completion of His Mission. But the best reassurance and empowerment had come from the voice of the Father Himself, Who was pleased with His Son. Now He was ready.

The other reason why Jesus brought His closest apostles to that mountaintop was so that they could have a glimpse of God’s glory, for which they would also someday aspire. Years later, they would testify that “We have seen His glory” (1 John 1:2).

Perhaps it is part of man’s “spiritual instinct” to seek closeness with his Creator, and the higher one reaches in his spiritual quest, the stronger he feels the Divine Presence. However, it is never an easy climb to tackle the spiritual heights of life without proper conditioning and preparation, and the right company. Just as climbing high peaks like Mt. Apo unprepared and on one’s own would be very ill-advised indeed.

If you are a member of a renewal organization like the Couples for Christ, Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals, Bukas Loob sa Diyos, etc. then you are fortunate, because you are getting the training and preparation you need as well as the “tools of the trade” in your life’s “climb to Mt. Hebron”. Besides, no one climbs alone. Even Jesus brought along three companions for company. We all need each other in this struggle.

We praise and thank You for bringing us to Your community, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.” For it is like Your sacred mountain, where we feel Your presence strongly, and where we feel privileged to hear Your voice proclaimed in our midst. Amen.

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