Gospel: Luke 9:28-36

Today’s feast fills us with hope as we contemplate the transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain in the presence of the three apostles, Peter, John and James. Luke tells us that as Jesus prayed “the aspect of his face was changed and his clothing became brilliant as lightning.” We may well ask if this was a regular occurrence during prayer time for Jesus? and on this occasion he let his disciples in on his secret? Perhaps this is the only time it happened! We know from Peter’s comment that it was a wonderful experience for them! “Master it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah”. Peter would have liked Jesus to stay on the mountain and forget all that talk about suffering and dying and suggesting that those who follow should take up their cross daily (Lk 9:23-26)!! He had no desire to come down the mountain again and face reality!

Can we all identify with Peter in some way or other? We are all happy to be in the Lord’s presence while we are experiencing good feelings of joy and peace and so escape the harsh realities surrounding us. Not so for Jesus. This experience was meant to strenghten him and his disciples to face the harsh reality ahead with courage and love in obedience to the Father’s will.

Jesus was always tuned into his Father’s will – “His food was to do the Will of his Father”. The Father in turn bears witness to his Son – a voice comes from the cloud: “This is my Son, the Chosen One. Listen to him” – Yes listen to him as he speaks to you about the Cross and suffering! and the need to deny ourselves and take up our cross daily!

All Christian prayer is prayer in Christ – through Baptism we are in Christ and share his relationship with his Father. When we pray in Him we too are transfigured (though it is hidden from our eyes) and the Father speaks to each of us as He addressed His Beloved Son: “You are my beloved son (or daughter)”. True prayer is never escape from real life – rather it inserts us more deeply into the human situation and like Jesus, gives us the love, the strength and the courage work for the greater glory of God and to make this world a better place for our brothers and sisters while we wait in joyful hope for day when we shall behold the glorious face of our God.

O souls crated for these grandeurs and called thereto! What are you doing? Wherein do you occupy yourselves? O wretched blindness of the sons of Adam, who are blind to so great a light and deaf to so clear a voice.

(St John of the Cross: Spiritual Canticle)