6 August 2008. The Transfiguration
Deut 7, 9-14; Psalm 97; 2 Peter 1, 16-19; Matthew 17, 1-9
There are little details that might make up a deep reflection on the Transfiguration — perhaps, another angle to what we usually hear about it. Moses, Elijah and Jesus encountered God on the mountain. Moses met God in Mt. Sinai; Elijah heard God as a still small voice; and Jesus would pray on a mountain. In the Transfiguration, the mountain was Mount Horeb or Sinai. Moses, Elijah and Jesus were great leaders; influential personages in the salvation history of humankind.
God spoke from a cloud, which the Jews called shekinah, or the luminous saving presence of God. It is also with a cloud (‘a pillar of cloud’) that led the Jews out of Egypt, a cloud that filled the tabernacle where the Tables of the Law was, and another cloud that filled the Temple of Solomon when it was dedicated. The experience of God provided the inspiration that set afire the hearts of leaders.
With Jesus were Peter, James and John. All disciples of Jesus, some say, His closest friends who will be important witnesses of His passion. It is after the Transfiguration, Scripture scholars would say, that Jesus set His eyes on Jerusalem, almost ready for what would befall them. Peter, James and John would later be pillars of the Church.
When we are in the midst of a crisis in our lives, or we are anticipating a lot of challenges even heartaches as we run a project, pursue our dreams, fulfill a responsibility, or manage people in an organization, we have to equip ourselves with the necessary strength to overcome obstacles. For Moses, Elijah, James, John, Peter and Jesus, encountering God is their greatest source of energy and strength. We can therefore look back at our prayer life (our mountain experience) or even plan a retreat (a return to the mountain) and continually develop a deeper relationship with God.