Yesterday we celebrated the Feast of the Transfiguration when the Lord Jesus brought Peter, James, and John up a high mountain and gave them a glimpse of His divine glory. It is an event that provides a key moment of transition for the apostles who accompanied Jesus and a profound lesson for all his disciples, including you and me.
Recall that this extraordinary event is one of many that occurred in Jesus’ life that are theophanies, that is, privileged moments of extraordinary grace when the true nature of Jesus is clearly manifest. The Lord’s Baptism in the Jordan is another example of a theophany when the Father’s voice proclaimed Jesus as His beloved Son. The Transfiguration is significant not solely because of what happened, but also when it happened. For soon before they arrived at the mountain, Jesus had asked his disciples at Caesarea Philippi who they believed him to be. Peter’s confession of faith was clear and unequivocal. However, Jesus and his disciples were on the road to Jerusalem, where Jesus foreknew that He was going to suffer and freely offer His life on the Cross for the forgiveness of sins and the conquest of death. Peter and the other apostles, having proclaimed their allegiance to the Lord, were also walking that same road to suffering, which would test them dearly. For this reason, in anticipation of the need for Peter and the other apostles to understand what it meant for Jesus to be the Suffering Servant and Messiah, Jesus provided them this special moment of grace to strengthen them for the challenges that awaited them.
The lesson of the Transfiguration is a simple one. We have been meditating on the meaning of the Kingdom of God, which we will inherit fully when we enter into the glory of heaven. In His transfiguration, Christ gives us a glimpse of what awaits us in the fullness of the Kingdom of Heaven. However, we cannot arrive at this eternal glory without walking the road of discipleship and embracing its sufferings for the sake of love. The promise is that we too will be transfigured into glory, provided we walk in the footsteps of Jesus, even to Calvary.
The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos!