Why was Our Lord Transfigured?

08-06-2023Pastor's LetterVery Rev. Richard C. Wilson, VF, Pastor

Dear Friends in Christ,

Today, the Gospel speaks of the Transfiguration of our Lord on Mount Tabor. After Peter's confession, Jesus started to say that it was necessary for the Son of Man to be condemned to death and that He would rise on the third day. This passage of the Transfiguration of Jesus has to be placed within this context. Anastasius Sinaita wrote that “He, who had donned our miserable goatskin tunics, is today dressed with a divine dress and a dazzling light wraps him up as a robe.”

And Peter, James and John are there with our Lord and Moses and Elijah appeared with him as well. What’s amazing here is that they knew their scriptures and sacred tradition so well, that they instantly knew that it was Moses and Elijah. Then bold, brash Peter offers to make booths there, one for Jesus, one for Moses and one for Elijah. What else could you say? What else could you do? It was all so amazing!

The transfiguration of Jesus calls to mind the Father's words: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (Matthew 17:5). But there’s a lot involved with Jesus firm command to listen to Christ. To listen means to abide by his will, to contemplate his person, to imitate him, to put into practice his advice, to take up our own cross and follow him.

And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one the vision, until the son of man is raised from the dead.” (Matthew 17:9). The three apostles were looking at Jesus transfigured, a clear sign of his divinity, they heard the voice of God, and they were totally awe-struck. In fact, they fell on their faces. But the Savior does not want them to spread the news until after his resurrection, when it will be possible to understand the scope of the transfiguration.

Christ speaks to us through the Gospels, through our prayers and gives us his grace through the sacraments. When we come to Mass, as we receive the Holy Eucharist, it would be good for us to repeat Peter's words: “Master, it is well that we are here!” (Mark 9:5)

The preface for today's summarizes the Transfiguration of our Lord in a powerful and concise way. It says: “For he revealed his glory in the presence of chosen witnesses and filled with the greatest splendor that bodily form which he shares with all humanity, that the scandal of the Cross might be removed from the hearts of his disciples and that he might show how in the Body of the whole Church is to be fulfilled what so wonderfully shone forth first in its Head.”

If we are faithful, we will follow where our Lord has gone. May God help us to believe this and to live it day by day!

All the best…in Christ,

Father Wilson