Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone.
As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, “Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration; today’s readings tell a very important event in the life of Christ and of His Church.
If any of you are English teachers, you probably winced at the mixing of tenses in what I just said. As a theologian, it bothers me not one bit to refer to the coming of Christ as simultaneously in the past and future tenses — and even present tense — for that is the reality of it.
Today we remember the fact of the Transfiguration – Christ appearing before the Apostles in what is in many ways an intersection of the supernatural and the natural. The way that Christ is described is the way that the divine is described in both the Old Testament and in ancient Jewish writings that are outside of the canon of Scripture. We see Him radiant; “his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.”
This description links the Transfiguration directly to what the book of Daniel describes in the first reading; the Ancient One is, of course, God. The one like a son of Man is Jesus, Our Lord. And so, the Transfiguration should bring to mind both the ancient event on Mount Tabor and the future coming of Jesus, when “The one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship; all peoples, nations, and languages serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.”
If any of you are English teachers, you probably winced at the mixing of tenses in what I just said. As a theologian, it bothers me not one bit to refer to the coming of Christ as simultaneously in the past and future tenses — and even present tense — for that is the reality of it. Christ is the Son of God; God Himself says so in today’s Gospel reading. His Kingdom is and was and is to come. Jesus received dominion, glory, and kingship; His is an everlasting Kingdom, and He will come again in Glory, appearing before us all as He did those centuries ago, transfigured and divine; the very embodiment of the Law, the Prophets, and of Salvation itself.
His dominion was and is and will be an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away; his kingship shall not be destroyed.