There are few feasts in the liturgical calendar dedicated to the life of Jesus. This is one of them.
The disciples had a rare encounter with Christ unveiled. To them he appeared transfigured. It would have been a quite exceptional sight; awesome.
Their first reaction was to make something of it; to do something. They wanted – just as we do in the endless photos we take on our phones – to mark the moment, to keep it somehow, to stay in that moment.
This feeling is much like what we encounter during prayer. Not ALL prayer, of course, but at least in those moments when we feel heard, listened to, in the presence of God. It is an experience that we try and perpetuate.
Imagine what it will be like when we, too get to see him in a fuller way. The experience will be staggering, just as it was for the Disciples. For, not only do we see Christ the Son, but through the Spirit we shall experience God. Yes, as the Disciples faffed around considering making up tents, the Father spoke from above, and stopped them, bringing them back to the present moment and into the beauty of Christ transfigured.
We struggle, as did the apostles, to stay fully present and live in the now of God’s love and encounter. All around us is the transfiguration of Christ. We ask to remain in that moment of epiphany daily, to stay wondering at God and desiring to perpetuate that encounter.
It will not be possible, of course. Not from this side of the spiritual curtain. There will be far more spiritual dullness than moments on the peaks of heavenly encounter. But we use what we do experience as our guide, fanning the small flames of encounter to keep us going. And through these flames, our life is all the warmer, as we seek the never ending transfiguration of heaven.
The Lord be with you
And with your spirit.
A reading from the Gospel according to Matthew 17:1-9
Glory to you, O Lord
Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone. There in their presence he was transfigured: his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared to them; they were talking with him.
Then Peter spoke to Jesus.
‘Lord,’ he said ‘it is wonderful for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three tents here, one for You, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’
He was still speaking when suddenly a bright cloud covered them with shadow, and from the cloud there came a voice which said,
‘This is my Son; the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. Listen to him.’
When they heard this, the disciples fell on their faces, overcome with fear. But Jesus came up and touched them. ‘Stand up,’ he said ‘do not be afraid.’ And when they raised their eyes they saw no one but only Jesus.
As they came down from the mountain Jesus gave them this order,
‘Tell no one about the vision until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.’
The Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.