Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. At today’s Mass, we hear St. Luke’s account of this event, one that is recorded in all three of the Synoptic Gospels.
Luke is not only a talented writer, but he is also a skillful artist and his richly detailed scenes engage the human imagination. I love his description here; Luke tells us that Jesus led Peter, John and James up a mountain and that, while he was praying, “his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white.” The disciples see Jesus in all of his divine glory, getting a glimpse of the resurrected Jesus. They then see him with two men standing and conversing with him: Elijah and Moses. Some time later, After a cloud came over them, and from the cloud they heard God’s voice saying, “This is my chosen Son. Listen to him.”
Now that sort of thing doesn’t just happen every day. Even for Jesus’ friends, who were used to seeing him do some amazing things, this must have been an extraordinary thing to behold. You might even expect it to be life-changing. You might expect it to be the sort of thing that would cause them to run and tell all of their friends about what they saw.
But, no. First, Peter, not really understanding what is going on, says “it is good that we are here; let us make three tents,” as though they were going to just hang out up there. Then, Peter, James and John simply fall silent and, when they get home, tell no one what they experienced. And we know that even after this, James and John will be worrying about whether they are going to get to sit at Jesus’ right hand, Peter will still denies him, and they all will run away when Jesus is crucified.
I want to criticize them for their slowness, and perhaps you have the same reaction. But the truth is that we are not all that different from them. In my own case, I’ve had some incredible experiences of God on retreat, in prayer and at other times. I’ve had experiences that have caused me to marvel at what God has revealed of Godself, feeling like nothing will ever be the same. And, while at some level it is not the same, suffice it to say that occasions arise where I’ll think or do or say something that seems completely inconsistent with the revelations I have experienced.
So on the Feast of the Transfiguration, I pray, continue to reveal yourself to me, Lord. And let me thoughts, words and deeds more and more mirror that revelation.