Have you ever been in the presence of someone seemed absolutely to “glow?” I certainly have. I think of the many new “cursillistas” with whom I ministered over the years right after their three-day weekends of spiritual renewal. Or, someone who has just made a new discovery or understood something for the very first time. Or, for that matter, young lovers in one another’s presence.
I think the Transfiguration experience must have been something like that, different in degree rather than in kind. The union of Jesus with the Father when he prayed must have been an amazing thing to behold! As to whether Moses and Elijah actually appeared “in the flesh” (whatever that might mean for two men so long departed!), I’m not sure it really matters.
The text says “They appeared in glory…” (Luke 9:31) and the disciples were, after all, “weighed down with sleep” (Luke 9:31). But then how many times has God’s word been revealed in the dreams and visions of holy men and women throughout the ages? Too many to count.
The point of this mystery is clear, if not its specifics. First, there is a union between this Jesus and God which is so intense that it is transformative and has physcial and well as “spiritual” ramifications. Second, the apostles and evangelists saw the continuity between their Master (Luke 9:33) and God’s “Chosen One” or “Beloved” (Luke 9:35) and God’s revelation in the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah). And third, the implications of that fact demanded sacrifice and action, not endless contemplation even in three liturgically correct “tabernacles” (Luke 9:33)!
May your Transfiguration day be filled with light, illumined with truth, and may its radiance lead your feet into action to share the good news and help build a world which reflects the glory of God’s Reign!