Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Glimpse of Glory

Readings for Friday, August 6/Feast of the Transfiguration:
Daniel 7:9-10,13-14
Psalm 97:1-2,5-6,9
2 Peter 1:16-19
Luke 9:28-36

I had a shirt as a teenager that sparked a lot of conversation. On the front it said “When the pain was too much…” and on the back “He thought of you” and below it was an image of the crucified Lord. Jesus’ suffering was not done for suffering’s sake, but it was aimed at our redemption and on the last day, our being raised in glory.

Why do I start with this reference to the crucified Lord today when we celebrate His transfiguration? In order to really grasp the importance of the Transfiguration, we need to understand its place in the scriptures. Yesterday we heard the story of Peter’s profession of faith in Christ and how Peter was the rock upon which the Church would be built. And following that, the scriptures told us that Christ then began to explain to them that he would suffer at the hands of the elders, chief priests and scribes, and that he would be killed and then raised three days later. Peter objected to this and is harshly rebuked by Christ. Jesus goes even further in the passage following that one and immediately preceding the one we hear today and tells that in order to follow Him we must carry our cross daily. Peter struggled greatly to conceived of the Lord having to endure suffering, and now Jesus basically says, ‘not only me, but you too will have to suffer.’ It’s a challenge that shook Peter – and probably the other disciples as well – because they couldn’t conceive of anything good coming from suffering.

It is in the face of that struggle of faith that Peter was experiencing that we come to this transfiguration of Jesus. Jesus brings Peter, James and John up on the mountain and reveals to the three of them a glimpse of His glory. For a moment in time, those three blessed men were able to look and see the truth of Jesus’ identity as a divine person and begin to understand the glory of the life to come. They begin to understand that the suffering that will necessarily come is not the end, but is a road to the life of glory. The comes upon them the cloud from which they hear the voice of the Father “This is my chosen Son; listen to Him.” Instead of water, the three disciples have faith poured upon them from this encounter with the Most Holy Trinity and are assured that Jesus knows full well what is to come and that it is the will of God that it be so.

Today as we celebrate this First Friday in August, let us call out to the Lord Jesus and ask for greater faith and the grace to carry our crosses after Him; and when our pain is too much, let us think of Him Who in His suffering thought of us.