Wednesday, August 5, 2009
[Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them. As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant.] (Mark 9: 2-10) The story of the Transfiguration sets before our eyes a number of challenges. What is the mountain that we have to climb in order to see Christ in his Divine dazzling white clothes? What is the significance of Moses and Elijah conversing with Jesus? Then Peter dared to tell Jesus of his own terrifying joy “Rabbi, it is good that we are here!” Note how the Gospel mixes joy with terror in man’s heart! And to add to the glory of the Divine transfigured Christ, a voice from a cloud announces “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” At the end, the Apostles are not to tell anyone until the Son rises from the dead. Here is a simple interpretation: 1. We have to climb the mountain of selfishness every day. This is what we must do to really see Christ in his glory. Although he pulls us, it is up to us too to get there! We are not fully his disciples until we are free from our selfishness – a freedom that can be realized only through self-sacrificing love. 2. Moses and Elijah represented the Law and Prophets which confirmed to the Jews that Christ was the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets. However, even those great figures had their own shortcomings. Elijah killed the priests of Baal, and Moses wanted to enter the promised land by force! But again God as always works through their own thinking and culture and slowly opens their and our hearts to the Son. In this glimpse of God, both Moses and Elijah are already freed from their sins. This is why they can stand and talk to the Divine face-to-face. 3. Peter was overjoyed with this moment of glory that he, James and John experienced. The experience of God is not only joy but also an experience of awe. They were surrounded by a cloud which signifies the Divine presence. And the voice coming from within is to confirm the truth of the Divinity of Christ testified to by the Father. “Listen to him” – The only one that all generations from now on must listen to is Christ – This connects it to Peter’s earlier question “Rabbi.” But why listen to him? Because he will teach love, and will show it to the point of death. He is the lamb or the scapegoat whose sacrifice will be unlimited and eternal – the sacrifice that will fully reveal God’s love and Satan’s lies. 4. Why did Christ ask the 3 Apostles to hide what they experienced until his Resurrection? Because no one can understand the Messiah until he has experienced His Resurrection. The Apostles were scared after Christ’s death, and only after they experienced his Resurrection, have they started to preach the gospel of salvation first in the Temple to the Jews then to the gentiles all over the world. 5. And today, when Christ is being killed again, in the persons of innocent victims, by the “Satanic” powers everywhere, how should Christians react? No. Not by retaliation for He did not retaliate. When he was on the cross he loved and forgave his enemies. Our God and Christ is not a vengeful God – He will not strike the unfaithful as some fundamentalists think. In our everyday life, we can think more of the people we meet, and give them a smile and encouragement; think of our families and friends, and give them a hug; think of our spouses and give them a kiss; think of the strangers and give them a little of what we have; think of people who do not share our faith and show them the real Christ. The glory of Christ is here because heaven came to us in Christ. But we hardly see it. “Maran Atha” says the Book of Revelation which means Come O Lord. Come O Lord in our hearts and make us real Christians for we want to see your glory as your 3 disciples experienced it in the Transfiguration.