Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord
(Daniel 7:9-10.13-14; II Peter 1:16-19; Mark 9:2-10)
When Pope St. John Paul II visited the United States in 1987, I and perhaps others had a moment of truth. At the time the world was being traumatized by the AIDS epidemic. Many feared that not just any contact but simply being the presence of an AIDS patient risked contamination. John Paul, however, showed the world that AIDS patients deserve care not isolation. In San Francisco he hugged the AIDS patients that were invited to meet him. With all his strictness he proved to be a person of compassion more likely expressing the will of God than any of his critics. In today’s gospel a similar revelation takes place.
Jesus’ disciples have an inkling of his divinely appointed leadership. Peter had recently declared that Jesus was the Messiah. But then Jesus, quite astoundingly, said that he would have to suffer and die at the hands of men. A question no doubt arose in their minds, “Can Peter have been right in seeing him as the long-awaited king of Israel?” Jesus then takes his most prominent disciples to the mountain where his glory is revealed. Peter named him correctly.
As we know too well, we live in an age of disbelief. People no longer believe that God, His angels and saints are here to help us. We too can find reassurance in the episode of the Transfiguration. Yes, Jesus is the Messiah. He died to free us from the burden of our sins. He is leading us to the glory of the saints.