The Transfiguration of the Lord [A]
Dn 7:9-10,13-14 + 2 Pt 1:16-19 + Mt 17:1-9
August 6, 2017
“‘Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.’”
It’s rare that the vestments of the priest and chalice are not green on a Sunday during Ordinary Time. But August 6th is the date of the Transfiguration of the Lord on Mount Tabor. This fourth of the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary is so important for understanding our faith in Jesus Christ that the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time will not be celebrated this year.
In today’s account of the Transfiguration, we have a miniature of the entire Gospel, and a miniature of the manner in which God has always made His Divine Revelation known. God, like any loving parent, wants us to share in His love, but at the same time He wants us to enter into that love as freely as possible. In other words, God wants us to come to Him of our own accord, because the more freely we come to Him, the more we grow in His love.
But as a loving parent, God knows we are often weak and need His help. God gave us an intellect by which we could of our own power reason that God exists, that He loves us, and that He wants us to imitate that love. God also gave us a free will by which to imitate Him. Our human intellect and will are often very weak, however, and so God constantly gives us signs of His presence, in order to remind us of Who God is and how much He loves us.
God did not have to inspire the human authors of Sacred Scripture, but He did so in order to give us a record of His love. God did not have to choose twelve men to be his apostles, in order to share the Sacraments of His love. But He did so to strengthen us in this earthly life of ours, because we face so many setbacks, failures, and disappointments. God the Son was transfigured before the eyes of these three apostles not simply so that they could say, “How good it is for us to be here.” The Transfiguration occurred so that the apostles would hear God the Father’s voice, who says, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him.” And coming down the mountain, Jesus says what? He points their attention ahead to the Cross, to His death.
As we share in the Eucharist—the offering of Christ’s self-sacrifice on the Cross—God our loving Father nourishes us with the life of His Son. Here is how Jesus’ Transfiguration on Mount Tabor bears further meaning: through its foreshadowing of Jesus’ transformation of His death on the Cross into the power and glory of His Resurrection, and in the transformation of the giving of our lives into a means of opening our lives to God’s divine life.
The Transfiguration by A. A. Ivanov.