A word from—Fr. Chris
Our English language has words that go with the prefix, trans… to explain a potential change of a person, place or thing. We have such words as transport, transfer, translate, transpose, transgender, transition, transubstantiation, now transfiguration and so on.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ on Mount Tabor before His three inner disciples, Peter, James and John. That is to say, He changed his figure to the divine nature so that they would strongly believe Him and not be scandalized or disappointed at what they would see on the Cross. On that occasion, they saw the divine nature of Jesus. His face shown like the sun, His clothes became white as light. They heard a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son on whom I am well pleased, listen to Him.” The apostles were afraid but Jesus touched them and said, “Arise and do not be afraid”. As they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them not to tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.
What does this transfiguration mean to us? It is that Jesus Christ has two natures–His human nature and the divine. The apostles have been shown more of his human nature except on those occasions when He worked miracles. The second point could be in our Christian faith and worship. We have images, visible signs and actions, that convey spiritual realities to the receiver and us. For example, the pouring of water at baptism is an external action but a spiritual reality of the cleansing of the soul from sin making the person a Christian for life. At sacred ordination, the placing of the bishop’s hand on the head of the candidate for ordination with the accompanying prayers that declares once a deacon, priest or bishop. So also, in the Eucharist, it is not the wafer or altar bread we see with the physical eyes that we receive but Christ Himself –His body, blood, soul and divinity under the appearances of bread and wine. Therefore, it is in our prayers, reflections and meditations and the sacraments that are the surer ways of our deep union with our God. In this way, as St. Paul puts it, “It is not I that live but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20).
The occasion of the Transfiguration of Christ was again another great occasion to hear God calling Jesus His Beloved Son on whom He is well pleased and therefore we must listen to Him. When therefore we listen to the teaching of Christ through the Church we are in obedience to our loving God. It is in the same way that the Blessed Mother Mary who told the waiters at the marriage at Cana to do what he tells them, say to us, “Do what he tells you” and such words of obedience will be pleasing to God and His Divine Son. May these words sink deep into our hearts, Amen.