AUGUST 6: THE TRANSFIGURATION OF OUR LORD. SIGNIFICANCE
Dear friends, Happy feast day of the Transfiguration of Our Lord!
The Gospel of today’s Mass speaks to us about the glorious event on Mt. Tabor when Our Lord was transfigured in the presence of Peter, James and John six days after Jesus foretold them of His Passion, Death and Resurrection. Before them, “his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them…And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “THIS IS MY BELOVED SON; LISTEN TO HIM (Mk 9, 3;7).” Upon seeing briefly the splendor of glory of the transfigured Christ, Peter exclaimed with awe and joy, wanting to prolong the experience: “Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah (Mk 9:5).”
WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TRANSFIGURATION OF OUR LORD?
The Transfiguration foretells the glory of the Lord as God, and His ascension into heaven. It is an anticipation of the glory of the saints in heaven, where they shall see God face to face. Nevertheless, we must not forget that we already share in this life, through grace, in the divine promise of eternal life. But, if we are to see God’s glory in heaven, we must tread on the same footsteps of Our Lord during his life on earth, for the glory of the Resurrection is the fruit of Christ’s Passion and Death on the Cross.
- We have mentioned above that the Transfiguration occurred SIX DAYS AFTER JESUS’ FIRST PROPHETIC FORETELLING OF HIS PASSION, DEATH AND RESURRECTION in Mk 8:31-38 where Jesus told the Apostles that He “must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again (Mk 8: 31) and that ““If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me (Mk 8:34).”
- SIX DAYS HAVE PASSED when Jesus foretold the Apostles of His Passion, Death and Resurrection…six days of anxiety, of doubt, of sadness….With his Transfiguration, Jesus wanted to CONSOLE the Apostles by showing them His divine glory and also FORTIFY AND CONFIRM them in their faith in Him, being the Beloved Son of the Father whom they must listen to. CHRIST MANIFESTED HIS GLORY IN THE TRANSFIGURATION TO MOVE US TO DESIRE THE DIVINE GLORY WHICH WILL BE GIVEN US SO THAT, HAVING THIS HOPE, WE TOO CAN UNDERSTAND “THAT THE SUFFERINGS OF THIS PRESENT TIME ARE NOT WORTH COMPARING WITH THE GLORY THAT IS TO BE REVEALED TO US” (Rm 8:18).
- CHRISTIAN LIFE is all about having a PERSONAL LOVING ENCOUNTER WITH JESUS CHRIST, following his footsteps, identifying ourselves with him, our life with his life. It is A CONTINUOUS CALL TO CONVERSION AND PENANCE OUT OF LOVE FOR GOD, A CALL TO FOLLOW HIM CLOSELY AND TILL THE END.
For this reason, while following our Lord, WE SHOULD NEVER BE SURPRISED IF ALONG THE WAY WE ENCOUNTER THE CROSS: DIFFICULTIES, TRIBULATIONS AND SUFFERINGS. CHRISTIANITY WITHOUT THE CROSS IS NOT CHRISTIANITY AT ALL BUT AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT THING. “When we journey without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord, we are worldly (Pope Francis, Homily, March 13, 2013).” WE CANNOT REMOVE THE CROSS NEITHER FROM CHRIST’S LIFE NOR FROM OURS IF WE WANT TO BE FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS.
- Let us then LOSE OUR FEAR OF THE CROSS AND ALL THAT IT SIGNIFIES: sickness, tiredness, calumny, persecution, daily contradictions, self-denial, moral suffering, pain, exterior and interior obstacles we experience in living a life coherent to our Christian faith… And let us LEARN HOW TO CARRY IT FOR LOVE: THIS IS WHAT CHRIST’S LIFE WAS ALL ABOUT.
And while doing so, He wants us TO FIX OUR GAZE ON THE HAPPY GOAL FOSTERING THE HOPE OF WHAT AWAITS US IN HEAVEN. IN THE MIDST OF THE GREATEST SUFFERINGS HE GIVES US THE CONSOLATION WE NEED TO KEEP GOING FORWARD knowing that “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?(Rm 8: 31b).”
- Our Lord’s life on earth did not end with his Death but rather in his Resurrection and Ascension into heaven, and so shall be the life of a Christian who faithfully follows Christ till the end. To this regard, HIS TRANSFIGURATION WAS IN SOME WAY AN ANTICIPATION NOT ONLY OF HIS GLORIFICATION IN THE RESURRECTION BUT ALSO OF OURS. As St Paul says, “it is the same Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, PROVIDED WE SUFFER WITH HIM IN ORDER THAT WE MAY ALSO BE GLORIFIED WITH HIM (Rom 8:16-17).”
Dear friends, Our Mother Church wants to remind us in today’s feast THAT AFTER THE CROSS COMES THE GLORY OF THE RESURRECTION. Let us faithfully tread on the same footsteps of Christ in an unconditional manner, following him not only towards Mt. Tabor ─when circumstances are favorable─ but also suffer with Him in Calvary ─ when the going gets tough─ so as to be glorified with Him in His Resurrection as well. “When Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is (Communion Antiphon).”
SEE AS WELL: LESSONS FROM OUR LORD’S TRANSFIGURATION. SUMMARY VID + FULL TEXT.
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