Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord
August 6, 2017
Celebrating the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord midsummer on what otherwise would have been the 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time enables us to revisit the mountaintop where we found ourselves on the Second Sunday of Lent. The views from mountaintops change with the seasons. Maybe the same holds true as we, once again, enjoy the spiritual vista from the lookout, where, just a few short months ago, we stood with Peter, James, and John.
Back then, they (like we) followed The Lord up a narrow, rocky, switchback path to the summit. The hike was a way of conditioning their (and our) spirits for what was to come. Jesus, like a modern day “trainer,” designed a spiritual workout for the three (and for us) to strengthen faith…bulk up hope…and exercise love in preparation for the next grueling challenge (theirs and ours): the struggle to the summit of Calvary. The hike up Transfiguration Mountain was rewarded by a vision of the glorified Lord. Witnessing Christ in all of His glory prepared them (and us) to witness His Passion and death.
But Seasons change.
And if, after Easter, they (like we do this weekend) returned to Transfiguration Mountain, the view would have been quite different. It was the season of Grace; the grace that we won through The Lord’s suffering, death, and resurrection.
If they made a return trip, the hike would have been much less challenging for them. Grace is very empowering. They would have felt invigorated…renewed…energized…strong! Their faith, hope, and love now fully developed, they would have made the journey with a deeper understanding of what they experienced on their first visit. Recalling the past events on Transfiguration Mountain, they might well have asked themselves: Who was it that was actually “transfigured” that day…Him or us?
Is it possible that Jesus wasn’t changed, but that for a brief moment, they were? Could it be that it was Peter, James, and John who were “transformed,” if only for an instant? On that day described in Matthew’s Gospel, did the three enjoy a moment of enhanced spiritual vision, so that for the first time since He called them to follow Him, they saw the fullness of Jesus Christ…not just The Lord’s human nature…but also His Divine nature?
We know this much to be true: What happened that day fortified Peter, James, and John so that they were able to endure what was to happen shortly on another mountaintop.
So, too, for us!
In the Eucharist, we are offered the same mountaintop experience and the same opportunity to see with enhanced vision the reality of life in this world and the promise of sharing in the glory of the Risen Christ in the next. Like Peter, James, and John, the Eucharist fortifies us, enabling us to continue our climb up the Holy Mountain, confident that when we reach the summit, we will be able to see forever. Enjoy the view!