Gospel Reflections

Feast of the Transfiguration

Matthew 17:1-9

Feast Day Reflection by Sister Ginny Scally

Published: August 06, 2014

Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration, August 6, 2014. It is also the 69th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan by the United States in an effort to end the brutal war in the Pacific in 1945. And today, so many years later, we still continue to live in the midst of a troubled world. filled, it seems, with growing global conflicts and escalating violence. How does today’s feast relate to our troubled past and present realities?

For sure, witnessing the transfiguration of Jesus was a mystical, “mountain-top” experience for the three disciples whom Jesus had chosen to take with him. It was a “thin time,” when the veil that hides the deepest realities from our physical eyes or the eyes of our hearts and souls was lifted momentarily. These privileged three were given a glimpse of the true identity of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was, “for a brief and shining moment being revealed as the glorious Son of Man, companion of the Ancient One, deserving of dominion, glory, kingship and the loyal service of all nations and peoples of every language.” His divinity shone through. A voice confirmed that, “This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” A glimpse was given of a promised future and a word was spoken about how to get there. This “promised future” and this “word ” have something to say to our troubled realities, past and present.

The first reading of today’s feast confirms that this was no ordinary experience. In the second reading, Peter affirms that “this is no cleverly devised myth.” It’s the real thing and we are the witnesses! We heard the voice! We saw his glory! This is a “prophetic message of what is to come…that is altogether reliable.”

It is like a “preview of coming attractions.” This is the promised future for Jesus. It will follow his most cruel passion and death but it will come. He will be raised in glory. And he WAS!

It will come for all of us one day too. We will be clothed with the sun if we but “LISTEN TO HIM.” That is the “word” about how to get there! We are to live, through the help of God’s grace, as “children of the light,” following his way, in faith, in hope, in trust and in love. We do live in a troubled world where violence seems so often to be the answer. His way is a way of compassion. His way is a way of mercy. His way is a way of courage, of integrity, of justice. His way is a way of mutual respect and reverence, a way of truth and life. His way is not always easy. We often do not choose his way. But it is within our graced power to do just that. The glory will come for us all too, as it did for Jesus, foreshadowed by his transfiguration, if we but listen for his voice and follow…


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