Matthew 17: 1-9
In last week’s Gospel Jesus was led into the desert, this week Jesus leads Peter, James and John up a high mountain. Matthew says that Jesus does this on the seventh day. We also see in this passage a connection between the First Testament and the Second Testament with the appearance of Moses and Elijah and the presence of Jesus. Jesus is the fulfilment of the promise of the First Testament.
So often we are led into experiences by God and at times it is only in hindsight that we may understand. In life we are often in experiences that are painful or puzzling to us at the time. How we enter into it may need a certain maturity, which this passage seems to hint at. How do we enter into those experiences that can lead us to be touched by Jesus so as to be reflective of what is going on and so enter into union with God, as Jesus did? Peter’s reaction to build booths and his excitement at what he physically sees can so often be identified with how we may respond. We too can only be blinded by the physical transformation.
On this high mountain there is a revelation but the disciples seem only excited by the physical transfiguration of Jesus’ face shining like the sun and his clothes becoming white as light. The vision that was seen on the mountain was in preparation for the sorrow that followed, “The Son of Man is going to suffer”.
The disciples fall to the ground in fear on hearing the voice from the cloud, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” Jesus then touches them, consoling them with words of encouragement to not be afraid.
Jesus was transfigured entering deeper into the spiritual beauty of union with God. The disciples as yet just didn’t get it and Jesus in his patience simply touched them and consoled them. My hope is to climb the high mountain guided by the cloud of God’s love. That I may grow in a maturity that will free me to live in the experiences of joy and of pain thus bringing me into union with God each time.
Sr. Edel Murphy OP