The Transfiguration occurs after Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Messiah and Jesus’ prediction about his passion. After this, in each of these Gospels, there is also a discussion of the cost of discipleship. In each case, Jesus takes three of his disciples—Peter, James, and John—to a high mountain. While they are there, Elijah and Moses appear with Jesus.
Elijah and Moses are significant figures in the history of Israel. Moses led the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and received from God the Ten Commandments. Elijah is remembered as one of the most important prophets of Israel who helped the Israelites stay faithful to the Lord. Jesus invites his friends to go up the mountain with him. Jesus wanted to give them a glimpse of his heavenly glory in the company of Moses and Elijah, who were some of the most revered personalities of the Old Testament. On seeing Jesus with Elijah and Moses and having witnessed his Transfiguration, Peter offers to construct three tents for them. Mark reports that the disciples are terrified by what they have witnessed and that Peter’s offer is made from confusion.
When have we been invited to go up a mountain in our lives and been frightened by what we witnessed, but gained a perspective on life that we did not have before – maybe accompanying someone we love to a medical appointment where bad news was given, or not being able to be with someone we love in their last hours because of Covid-19?
When have we been in a privileged position and spent time with someone who has taught us so much – teaching us what we may not have understood at the time, but which made sense sometime later – perhaps as a child or young person with a Granny or Grandad, or perhaps with a wise colleague who shared their experience with us?
Jesus is always willing to teach us but we must be ready to listen.
Am I prepared to climb the hard mountains, to learn from my fear and pain?
Can I trust in the wisdom of others and allow myself to be led forth?
Whether I am facing a personal crisis or the global pandemic Jesus is always there as the beloved Son. His message will always be ‘be true to your inner self, to your best intentions and act with courage.’ Today, let us pray for the gift of faith where we can act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with our God.
Sr. Miriam Weir OP