Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord
(Daniel 7:9-10.13-14; II Peter 1:16-19; Mark 9:2-10)
Some people may feel confused about Christopher Columbus. As little children, they were taught that he was a hero bravely sailing into the unknown for the purpose of discovery. But as the 500th anniversary of his historic voyage approached, they were told that their history lessons were a whitewash and that in truth he was a marauder and even a fool thinking he reached China. Recently an historian from Stanford University studied the pertinent documents of the times and Columbus’ personal papers. She gives objective testimony that he was indeed a great man with sensitivity toward the people he encountered in his journeys. The Transfiguration provides similar testimony for, at least, Peter, James, and John who were somewhat puzzled about Jesus.
Although Peter has already acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah, neither he nor the others had a proper concept of what the term means in reference to Jesus. Peter in fact is unwilling to accept that being God’s anointed entails suffering brutally on behalf of the people. The Transfiguration on the mountain gives them a glimpse into Jesus’ divine nature. To be sure, it is a brief revelation as the disciples descend the mountain wondering what Jesus means by saying that he will rise from the dead. Still they no longer refute him when he speaks of dying.
Living in a secular age we sometimes feel the ground of our faith swerving beneath us. Yet there are moments in all of our lives when we just know that our beliefs are true. These are Transfiguration experiences, and we must hold on to them and indeed tell others about them. They will assist us in being faithful to the Lord who gave himself entirely for our salvation.