Transfiguration: an experience of Grace
March 12, 2017 2nd Sunday of Lent First Reading: Gen 12:1-4 Second Reading: 2 Tim 1:8-10 Gospel Reading: Mt 17:1-9
Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain where they were alone. Jesus’ appearance was changed before them: his face shone like the sun and his clothes became bright as light. Just then Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Jesus. Peter spoke and said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here. If you so wish, I will make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” Peter was still speaking when a bright cloud covered them in its shadow, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, my Chosen One. Listen to him.” On hearing the voice, the disciples fell to the ground, full of fear. But Jesus came, touched them and said, “Stand up, do not be afraid.” When they raised their eyes, they no longer saw anyone except Jesus. And as they came down the mountain, Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone what they had just seen, until the Son of Man be raised from the dead.
(Daily Gospel in the
Assimilated Life Experience)
The Transfiguration event transported Peter, James and John to the experience of their forefathers with Moses coming down from Mt. Sinai. (The difference was that at Mt. Sinai it was Moses’ face that became radiant while talking to God, while at Mt. Tabor it was the face of God that became radiant while talking to Moses). Their recollection of the Sinai event made the Apostles aware how sacred the Transfiguration experience was.
This experience was supposed to prepare them for the event at another mountain called Calvary. There no Moses appeared and no voice from heaven was heard. There was only this voice of a dying God too faint even to pierce the clouds: “My God, why have you abandoned me!” If there was any echo to that voice, that echo must have been like an airplane with no airport to land – a touching scene of total helplessness reinforced by the silhouette of a “God-man” suspended between heaven and earth. Wasn’t heaven supposed to embrace him for being divine? Wasn’t earth supposed to accommodate him for being human? Neither heaven nor earth owned him. He only had his cross to hang on.
What happened to the three Apostles who saw his glory at the Transfiguration? Jesus took these three to the garden of his agony precisely because they were supposed to be better prepared. But they failed to stay awake with him even for an hour. At the cross only one of them stood for him.
Can Jesus count on you? Have you had your Transfiguration experience to prepare you for Calvary? – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM.
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