The Mount of the Transfiguration is not too far from the Sea of Galilee. From every direction it rises distinctively from the plain landscape as a solitary hill. In a similar way, the account of the Transfiguration of Jesus rises up as if from nowhere in the Gospels. All of a sudden Jesus is speaking with the Old Testament prophets Moses and Elijah and his clothes become dazzlingly white, whiter than any earthly bleacher could make them.
The Transfiguration of Jesus is the event that communicates an open door between earthly ordinariness, (days and weeks of routine and mundane and struggling existence), and divine eternity. In this moment Peter, James and John got a taste of something more; so much so that they could not even put it into words and did not speak of the event when they went down the mountain. With the birth of Jesus, God comes to earth. With the Transfiguration humans taste heaven. This is what happens every time we celebrate the Mass and the sacraments of the Church. The door between heaven and earth is thrown open by God: we express our struggle and our sin and God pours grace onto us and into us and we are enticed into the divine life of God.
When we leave the church after Mass we are changed. Like Peter, James and John, we will struggle to put this experience into words. We are not even really sure what has happened. The fact is, we have tasted heaven and in the most tangible form of Holy Communion, heaven has come INTO us. We are different, and because of this, even though we go home into the same realities and relationships, every moment of the week ahead is different. This taste of heaven enables us to live fully in every earthly reality.
An Invitation: We often understand prayer as us speaking to Jesus. Set aside five minutes of stillness and silence twice every day this week and gently hear the Father tell you as he told the disciples of Jesus at the Transfiguration: “This is my beloved son Jesus. Listen to him.”
Fr John O’Connor
“In meditating on the Transfiguration of Jesus, we can learn a very important lesson: first of all, the primacy of prayer, without which the entire commitment to the apostolate and to charity is reduced to activism. In Lent we learn to give the right time to prayer, both personal and of the community, which gives rest to our spiritual life. Moreover, prayer does not mean isolating oneself from the world and from its contradictions, as Peter wanted to do on Mount Tabor; rather, prayer leads back to the journey and to action.” Pope emeritus Benedict