By Fr. Rich, O.P.
We witness today the Transfiguration of Jesus: standing with Peter and John and James, as Jesus, revealed in the glory of his divinity, appears in conversation with Moses and Elijah. Moses, the Law-giver for the Jewish people, and Elijah, a prophet — Jesus stands between law and prophecy, the fulfillment of both.
It is a moment of great joy and great fear for the disciples. Joy because they are able to see a little of the glory of Jesus, and fear because they sense the real power of Jesus in his Godliness. After the event, from the depth of a cloud comes a message that rings down to you and I today, “This is my beloved Son [my Chosen]; listen to him!”
It is a message that we hear again and again: Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan is another moment when God the Father confirms his Son.
As we continue into our Lenten season, it is important to remember that Jesus’ desire that we follow him is basic to the mission that he is on. He must share that message of God’s love for us and the need for us to love Him in return. He constantly reminds us that we are called to love God, our neighbor, and ourselves. It is clear that this challenge is not meant to be fulfilled tomorrow, but now — today.
Lent is certainly the time to engage that love through fasting, praying, and sharing our treasure with those less fortunate. It is an opportunity to prepare ourselves for the climax of the season: the night in the upper room, the Last Supper, the giving of Jesus’ body and blood to his disciples and to us, the journey to the Cross and the depth of the tomb, and finally the glorious and victorious resurrection. In the moment of transfiguration, there is a small glimpse of that moment. Attended by angels innumerable, shining with the glory of 10,000 suns, Jesus Christ, our brother, stands in his full nature as the second person of the Trinity.
Now is indeed the time. Not only because it’s Lent, but also because it is the right thing to do. It is the response that we can make to that glimpse given to Peter, James, and John. Don’t we all want to share in that glory?
“Jesus charged them, ‘Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.'” Unlike the Disciples, we don’t have to wait. Now, in the post resurrection world, not only are we free to share the vision and the Good News, but also we are compelled to do so. And we are compelled in season and out, convenient or not.
Now is the time to preach the Gospel through fasting and prayer, participating and supporting ministry, and participating in liturgy and study. It is through our example that we preach this Good News.
The moment of the Transfiguration was a glimpse into how we would experience Jesus in heaven. It was an opportunity for us to experience the joy that will be ours if we live out a life grounded in God’s life and the prophets.
Now is the moment for us to begin that journey, to respond to that moment of witnessing God’s glory.