Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.
Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” —not knowing what he said.
While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
This event is foreshadowed in the first reading from Daniel, and Peter reflects upon it in the second reading. Matthew, Mark and Luke all record it, and all three place it strategically after the first prediction of the passion. We hear this story twice each year: on the second Sunday of Lent, and today. Pope St. Leo the Great (+461) explains the first: “The great reason for this transfiguration was to remove the scandal of the cross from the hearts of the disciples.” As we enter the dark tunnel of Lent he reminds us that, in the end, Jesus will be glorified.
It is August and I remember how Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stirred my soul in August 1963, with his “I Have A Dream” speech from the steps of my favorite place in Washington, the Lincoln Memorial. He, like Moses and Elijah, and Jesus, Peter, James and John, had been to the mountain, that classic place of encounter with God.
Today we can go to the mountain, so that we may not lose heart, but may have courage in our following of Jesus, and say with Peter: “Lord, it is good for us to be here.”
—Fr. Robert Braunreuther, S.J., a Jesuit of the New England province, serves in University Ministry at Loyola University Chicago, where he is also the minister of the Arrupe House Jesuit community.
Lord, help us to be your companion, not just in those glorious moments of transfiguration and miracle but also in those moments of betrayal and loneliness and the cross. Give us the grace, dear Lord, to enter more deeply into life’s mystery. And in that process, what you desire for us, what you hope and dream for us will become more apparent in our journey.
—Fr. Patrick McGrath, SJ, President of Loyola AcademyPlease share the Good Word with your friends!