Scripture: Lectionary 614. Transfiguration, Aug. 6. Daniel 7:9-10,13-14. Psalm 97: 1-2,5-6,9. II Peter 1:16-19. Luke 9:28-36:
In my writing of these reflections, I do so in the framework of prayer, some study, and especially in the context of the liturgy of the day. Perhaps, the liturgy is really the primary source for the reflections which come from my personal pondering over the texts of the day. Take for instance, the Feast of the Transfiguration. It comes almost mid-point in the summer and offers us a chance to rest in the Lord with Peter, James, and John on the traditional site of Mount Tabor. We take ourselves there in spirit and realize that after climbing the mountain we need to descend only with Jesus. Moses and Elijah leave us for the glory of God in the heavens.
All four readings, this includes the Psalm, are helpful for focusing on the Transfiguration. Daniel introduces us to the vision of one vested in human nature like ourselves whom he calls the son of man (a human person). He comes upon the clouds and approaches the throne of God. We can easily vision this as the ultimate goal of Jesus when he ascends to the Father and the Spirit. This vision of Daniel is realized to a certain extent in Luke’s telling his version of the Transfiguration experience of the three favored apostles.
I like this version of Luke more than that of Mark and Matthew. It uses a key word that always draws me to think of the Exodus experience that frees Jesus’ people from their oppressors. Luke actually calls the Transfiguration the“exodus” of Jesus while focusing on the face of Jesus rather than his garments. Jesus will be leading the apostles down from the mountain in order to face his last journey to Jerusalem which will through his passion and death lead to the return to his Father through the resurrection.
Like the apostles and especially like Peter we would prefer to remain on the mountain and experience Jesus’ transformation. But we cannot tarry on and remain there, we must descend to the work of God that lies ahead for us and to our own entering into the mysteries of the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. We need to remember the words of Moses in what was written about him and those of Elijah who recalls the prophetic messages of God. This will help us understand the mysteries of Jesus better.
The passages from Psalm 97 and II Peter help us to enter into the reality of the Transfiguration which is a summons to our own transformation into Christ and the Christ life. This is not, as Peter tells us, “a cleverly concocted myth.” Our pondering over through a spiritual reading or lectio divina of this Gospel leads us into our own transformation which Paul so clearly states, “For me to live is Christ” (Phillipians 1:21). We finish our meditation by entering with joy into what God puts before us this day. We leave the mountain in order to witness to the Lord. Amen.
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.