Last Sunday we traveled into the desert with Jesus to begin our 40-day period of prayer and fasting.
This week we journey with Jesus and his “inner circle”—Peter, James and John—to Mount Tabor. There they will undergo a very strange, mystical (almost hallucinogenic) experience.
They will see Jesus, dressed in white robes that shone like the sun, talking with Moses and Elijah (the Law Giver and the Prophet), two men who have been dead for hundreds of years. They will see a cloud that will cast a shadow over them from which will come the voice of God, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Moses and Elijah and the cloud will then vanish as the three Apostles return to the natural world.
What is this? What was happening just before this event? Jesus had begun to tell his followers that they would go to Jerusalem where he would be arrested, beaten and killed, and then would rise again.
This threw them into a tailspin. They believed that Jesus was the Messiah and that the Messiah could not die. Several false Messiahs had arisen, and the proof that they were false was that they were killed by the Romans. Now Jesus was saying the same would happen to him. Their faith in him was shaken and almost overcome.
In this context, we see the Transfiguration as a glimpse of the glorified body of Jesus and the victory that would be his after he had “risen from the dead.” They still do not know what it means to rise from the dead, but their faith in Jesus has been restored.
The Transfiguration is a gift to all who struggle to believe that Jesus has won a victory for all of us and that he will carry us through any crisis or tragedy that we encounter. Sometimes it is not easy to trust God and to believe that we will somehow be able to face whatever is coming our way. But, as Saint Paul tells us, “I can do all things through him who loves me!”
— Fr. Mike Comer