Today we celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration. This feast was inserted into the general calendar in 1457 by Pope Callistus III to celebrate the defeat, announced in Rome on August 6, of the Turks at Belgrade. Matthew writes that when Peter, James, and John see Jesus transfigured and hear the voice of God they are very much afraid. Jesus immediately goes to them and calms them saying, “Do not be afraid.” Seeing the Lord in his dazzling glory and hearing God’s voice naturally unnerves them. To reassure and refocus the disciples, Jesus at once sets their minds at ease.
What should their focus be at this point of Jesus’ mission? Just before their journey up this mountain, He told them for the first time that he would suffer, be killed, and then be raised on the third day. He had gone on to tell them that they must deny themselves, take up their crosses, and follow him. They will be repaid for their conduct when the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory. Now they have just seen a foretaste of that glory.
Our world has always been in need of transformation, and these days, that need seems especially great. Jesus gives us the first step. We need to deny our own priorities, our own desires, our own self-interests, and take up the challenge to uncover and reveal the kingdom that God is building in our midst. Let us be, as Peter says in our second reading, “A lamp shining in a dark place,” shining the light of God into the darkness in need of a transfiguration.
Love, Peace, Joy,