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The Transfiguration of the Lord

posted 8 Aug 2017, 10:53 by G OLOFC   [ updated 8 Aug 2017, 10:55 ]

A Mirror to the Crucifixion

The Feast of the Transfiguration falls today on August 6th and so it takes precedence over the normal Sunday readings. The traditional site of the trans-figuration is Mount Tabor – a large, round hill which offers a stunning view of Galilee. But Peter, James and John were not looking at the view that day – instead they were dazzled by the radiant figures of Jesus, Moses and Elijah illuminated in glory on the mountain top. This sight reminds us of Jesus’ words earlier in Matthew’s Gospel that “the virtuous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Mat. 13:43). Jesus has just warned his disciples that they must now make their final journey to Jerusalem where he will be put to death before rising to new life. So on one level the transfiguration is a sign and a promise to the disciples of this glory which lies beyond the cross.

 There are so many striking parallels/contrasts between the transfiguration and crucifixion – they are like a photographic negative of each other. Here, on a mountain, Jesus is revealed in glory; there, on a hill outside Jerusalem, in shame. Here his clothes are shining white; there they are stripped from him. Here he is flanked by Moses and Elijah, two of Israel’s greatest heroes, representing the law and the prophets; there his is flanked by two criminals, representing the depths to which Israel had sunk in rebellion against God. Here a bright cloud overshadows the scene; there darkness covers the land. Here Peter cries out how wonderful it all is; there he is hiding in shame after denying he even knows Jesus. Here the voice of God the Father declares that this is his wonderful Son; there we have the silence of God. The mountain top points to the hill top and vice versa. What are we to understand by this? Perhaps we are invited, like Peter, James & John, to learn the lesson that the same power and glory of God is at work in both our celebration and suffering, our joy and agony. There is glory in the cross. The Transfiguration is also a promise to us all that we too are called one day to “shine like the sun” reflecting God’s glory.

With blessings & prayers from Fr Richard, Fr Ephrem & the parish team