The Transfiguration of the Lord [B]
Daniel 7:9-10,13-14 + 2 Peter 1:16-19 + Mark 9:2-10
We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain.
In today’s account of the Transfiguration, we have a miniature of the entire Gospel and a miniature of the way that 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 Scriptures, 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 the voice of God the Father: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him.” They do listen to Him. What is it that He chooses to state next? Coming down the mountain, Jesus points the apostles’ 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 a further transfiguration: the death of Jesus on the Cross into the Resurrected Lord, so that the giving of our lives might mean the receiving of God’s life.