Transfiguring Our Lives

We interrupt Ordinary Time to celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord on August 6th. Usually this feast day falls on a weekday, but we are lucky this year to celebrate it during the Sunday Mass. The Transfiguration of Jesus (Matthew 17:1-9) is a unique scene in the gospels. Unlike other events, Jesus did not announce that it would happen, the disciples didn’t expect it and it was an event that was never repeated. At first glance, the story of the transfiguration seems to be out of place. Looking at this scene more carefully we can see, however, that this is not a random event.

In Matthew 16 Jesus asked his disciples about how the public and the disciples themselves perceived him. Public opinion was that he was one of the great prophets of Israel. This was an understandable response because much of Jesus’ ministry could be compared to the prophets of the Old Testament. The disciples however had a more intimate knowledge of Jesus and had begun to see him as the promised messiah. In the first part of his ministry, they travelled with Jesus all over Galilee witnessing first hand his power at work and hearing his teaching. The second phase was more about teaching the disciples what it meant to say that Jesus was the Son of God. God’s voice confirmed to Peter, James and John as a shadow of a cloud fell over them that Jesus was no ordinary man or even a great prophet but that he was indeed the beloved Son of God.

I imagine that this was a life changing event for his disciples as it transformed their lives. Jesus is ready to transform our lives. He is already present and living in our hearts, we only need to recognize his power in the world and in the people around us. Celebrating the Feast of the Transfiguration during the Sunday Mass on August 6th gives us the opportunity to give thanks for this vision of the glorified Jesus. May it transform us as we understand what it means to say that Jesus is the Son of God.