Gospel Reflections

Feast of the Transfiguration

Matthew 17:1-9

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Bernadette Janssens

Published: August 06, 2017

The word “Transfiguration” evokes in us the faces of men and women.  I think about Mère Julie and so many others toward the end of their lives, reflecting the flame of love which consumed them.

Today the apostles who accompanied Jesus are on Mount Tabor, a high mountain.  There the Spirit appears in a luminous cloud and the voice of the Father is heard:  “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.  Listen to him.” This is simultaneously a declaration, a story and a demand – not a small thing! But this experience confirmed the faith of the apostles and the fact that Jesus is the Son of God. They went back to share this conviction with the other apostles – with the world, everywhere.

Shortly before this, Jesus had announced his passion and death.  Given this fact, the transfiguration is not easy to understand.  Initially the apostles experienced tremendous fear.  But then Jesus approached and touched them.

Approach and touch people – what an example! At the same time he said, “Get up and do not be afraid.” Then, lifting their eyes, they saw only Jesus. An order followed, “Do not speak about this to anyone until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.”

The destiny of Jesus is symbolized between two mountains: Calvary to Tabor, as it is for each person ... of each one of us. What must we do personally, given such a story?  In truth we need have only one ambition, to make the Lord known.  What a task! The face of God may be seen in and by us through love.

God is, after all, fragile, says the priest, Zundel.  “It is the most moving gift, the newest and most disturbing in the Gospel, a God entrusted into our hands and confided to us in confidence…”   Our mission as Sisters of Notre Dame and as people of faith is to show forth the face of God and to proclaim: “How Good the Good God is.”                             


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