Sunday’s Gospel of the Transfiguration is one of those Gospels that could leave us wondering: “What’s that have to do with me? How does that fit into my life?”
A possible answer lies in the context of this particular story. Six days before this event, Jesus had asked the disciples who he was. You know how that story goes. You know the group became totally flummoxed when Jesus mentioned that he would soon be executed by the religious authorities. All their visions of messianic glory foundered against the rock of Jesus’ impending death.
So he had to take Peter, James and John up the mountain to show them what glory really was. It wasn’t worldly honor, power, prestige, knowledge, wealth, etc. Jesus glory came because he knew he was chosen of God and truly blessed by God in spite of all appearances to the contrary.
God sends us transfiguration experiences to remind us that we truly are God’s beloved sons and daughters. These happen in the love we receive from other people, or when badly needed help suddenly comes to us from out of nowhere. We’re transfigured when we look back over our lives and what we couldn’t understand in the past makes sense now, when we see someone making a sacrifice to help somebody else, in the beauty of a fine day or a beautiful sunrise or sunset. We experience transfiguration when a passage from the Bible or a homily strikes a chord in our hearts, or when we spend time in prayer and experience the loving presence of God in our lives.
The one common result of all these events and others like them is this: our hearts experience a rush of gratitude, thanksgiving, and wonder. For the briefest moment of time, we get a glimpse of what heaven will be like.
Love deeply, pray faithfully, laugh often!