The transfiguration, the disciples see the glory of Jesus.
Today we have a very interesting gospel. ( For the words of the Gospel, click here.) Let us look at some of the people who are part of the story. First, look at the three friends of Jesus–Peter, James and John. What is their attitude? I don’t know; but I would like to use my imagination and think that they are tired. It’s been a long day; many people were coming and going. Now Jesus asks them to climb a mountain tonight. They need rest, but Jesus wants them to make this long walk up a mountain; they don’t want to, but Jesus asks them, so they’re willing to go.
Sometimes that happens to us too. We are tired; we know what the Lord wants us to do; we don’t want to or we are afraid. And yet we know that the Lord asks us and we do it. We accept the risk; we may be afraid of failing. But we do it because the Lord asks us. We do not know what will happen in the future, but we know it is the right thing to do. Maybe this is the attitude of the three going with Jesus up the mountain. Perhaps they think We don’t know why, but we’re going with Jesus because he asks us to.
Then we look at Jesus, his attitude. Remember the mountain is the place to meet God his Father. Now he needs to go, why? He sees his enemies are becoming stronger and there are more and more of them. Already he has told his friends that he is going to Jerusalem and there his enemies will force him to suffer and he will die. Jesus knows this will happen and he is human, so he is afraid. Now he is climbing the mountain to be close to his Father God. He needs to know this is what his Father really wants him to do. He needs his Father; he depends on his Father to give him comfort, courage. He needs to know that God his Father is with him, that he is really obeying his Father’s true will for him. Jesus is worried; he’s afraid; he feels weak.
Then, the four arrive at the top of the mountain, and Jesus is transformed, transfigured. His face begins to glow with glorious light; his clothes become bright white. His glory from heaven comes down now to fill his human body. The glory of heaven now bursts in the human body of Jesus. Who is Jesus? It becomes clear. He comes from heaven; he is equal to God. His human person is glowing with heavenly life, with heavenly light.
Then his three friends look up. They see Jesus–his glorious person. They’re amazed. Wow! They are thrilled; their feeling is a warm, wonderful experience.
Maybe you had a similar experience. Perhaps in the Cursillo; or you had a wonderful moment of peace, a special time at prayer, a special moment when you felt love all around you. You felt the love of God touch you; maybe you felt the power of heaven, the light of heaven bursting in you, the life of God in you, the love of God embracing you. Remember the experience; it will help you when life is hard. The Lord is always with you.
Peter says, “Wow! We want this to continue. We want to set up tents here, so we can continue with you Jesus glorious. We want to continue the same wonderful feeling.” They see Jesus, his power and glory. Maybe they remembered something Jesus said recently. He said He was going to Jerusalem to suffer and die. Now maybe the three think No, that’s not possible; it can’t happen. Jesus is glorious, powerful, the man from heaven, the Son of God. Jesus cannot suffer and die.
Then the cloud comes over them. Remember the cloud is the sign of God the Father coming. Then there is the voice, the voice of God, “This is my beloved Son.” Why did God say that? Remember Jesus maybe was afraid; he was not sure exactly what God his Father wanted. Now the heavenly voice, God his Father, is telling Jesus, the human Jesus, the frightened Jesus, that Jesus is right to go to Jerusalem to suffer and to die; it is what God the Father wants and the voice of God from heaven promises Jesus, “I am God your Father; I’m with you. I support you, no matter what may happen. I love you very much.”
The three friends of Jesus hear God the Father say Jesus is his beloved Son. They think Now it is right to follow Jesus; we are right to do it, no matter what will happen, we are with Jesus. And Jesus himself feels what? Now he feels strong; he knows he is obeying what his Father wants. The power of Heaven is with him. His fear, he can set aside his fear; his worry, he can set aside his worry. Now they come down from the mountain, and Jesus says, “I know I’m going to Jerusalem to suffer and to die, I will; but then I will rise to new life, I will. Now I know it because my Father God is with me.”
Jesus, as a human man, was afraid, then he was able to set aside his fear. Now the three disciples understood that no matter what will happen in the future Jesus was Lord and savior. They could follow him and trust that no matter what will happen it was going to be okay. He was savior for them and they could accept whatever will happen in the future.
In this event, called the Transfiguration, Jesus showed his glory. It showed that change can happen, but we have to accept the risk and do what Jesus the Lord wants. Do good, then good will come from it. Let me end with a story about a generous boy who was able to change someone else’s bad behavior
It is a story about a boy in school named Joe; a bully in school was bothering him a lot. He came back from school one day, hurt and angry; and he told his mother and father what happened, that this boy bullied him every day. The parents knew the other boy’s family life was very mixed up; they could have gone after the boy, but they did not. They asked their son Joe if there was anything good about the bully. Joe thought a little and he said He’s really good at football. The mother asked him, “You play football after school sometimes, right? Does anybody pick him to be on the team?” And Joe said, “ No one picks him for the team. No nobody likes him; they don’t want him on the team.” Then the mother suggested, “Maybe the next time when you are leading the team you could pick him to be on the team and then see what happens.” Joe was not sure this was a good idea, but he said he would try. So the next time he was leading the team, he picked the bully to be on the team and the bully did a good job. Then the other kids began to respect the bully and pick him again to be on the football team when they played other games. And slowly he began to make friends with the other kids, and the bullying stopped. The boy’s bad behavior changed because someone was willing to accept him and give him a chance. Joe changed, transformed the bully’s bad attitude and his bad behavior.
All things, even bad things, can be changed, transformed because that is what God wants. He wants us all to be filled with life and joy and peace, and God will do anything God can to help make the change happen.