Behold the Glory

Scripture     Matthew 17:1-9


                              Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John

                                and led them up a high mountain, by themselves.

                                  And he was transfigured before them,

                             and his face  shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white.

                             Suddenly there appeared to them, Moses and Elijah, talking with him…

                                     Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here;

                             If you wish, I will make three dwellings here…

                                Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man is raised from the dead.


Imagine what an invitation to spend a night in prayer with Jesus on Mount Tabor would be like for you? We are all familiar with Jesus going off to a solitary place to be alone with his Father. However, at this stage of his ministry he invites his chosen three - Peter, James and John - to come with him to the top of the mountain. These disciples were devoted to him and promised to stand by him no matter what. They were only human and would need inner strengthening and courage to face the trials ahead. He would call them apart and share special time with them. After the long climb to the summit they must have relaxed and grown weary, shared some food and taken in the magnificent view of the valley.  


Jesus began to pray... and suddenly, a most marvelous 'transfiguration' happened in which his divinity was manifested and there he was before their eyes, radiant in glory with light emanating from his face and his garments dazzling white. In shock and awe, they beheld the very light and love of God shining through his person. They became aware now that his compassion for the poor and little ones, his healings and all the wonderful new teachings of their Rabbi were really God's messages for the human family. Their hearts were ready to burst with the fullness of it all!


Presently, they became aware that they were not alone; besides themselves there were other spectators of the vision. As their eyes grew more accustomed to the dazzling brightness, they discerned two men standing on either side of Jesus and they too seemed filled with light. Dazed though they were, they gradually perceived that these two men were Moses of the Old Law and the Prophet Elijah. They were having serious discussion about the imminent future for Jesus. The Gospel story tells us that "they had stayed awake" and thus they were able to take in this mystical moment and allow it to just be in all its splendor and transforming grace.


In Peter's spontaneous joy he prays aloud from his heart, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings..."  Yes this is a peak, mountain-top religious experience and in a natural overflow speaking from his spirit, Peter wishes the moment could last forever. These three knew they were being gifted with profound enlightenment into the Divinity of Jesus, their friend and Master.   


And then even as Peter's voice broke the mysterious silence, something yet stranger came upon them. The light in which they were enveloped seemed itself to be covered in a cloud. The cloud came down upon them and overshadowed them. In some mystical way they seemed themselves to be taken up within it. Enveloped in the glory of God, they knelt there paralyzed in awe. From the midst of the cloud a voice was heard: "This is my Son, the Beloved: with him I am well pleased; listen to him."


This theophany on Mt. Tabor was beyond what any human had ever experienced before and they were speechless before it. They would keep silent as the mystery of Jesus' humanity-divinity would, over the years, deepen and penetrate into the very fibers of their beings. The words and experience would become flesh in their very own lives and they knew intuitively that they had gone beyond words. They would keep listening to Him, now with ever more attentive fervor! They walked down in silence with Jesus from the mountain that early morning. Their minds were filled with the wonders of the night. The vision they had seen was for the present at least, for themselves alone. They kept the secret of that night-watch to themselves pondering it in their hearts. They joined the other disciples and went about their daily work. We too must leave our mountain-tops and return to live our faith in the daily valley experiences of meeting each other's needs and trying to heal and bless and love one another. 


Let us pray especially during this Lenten season that all who hear the call to climb to the heights with Jesus will set out on that ascent. May we stretch ourselves beyond the limits of our egos and have the veil pulled aside so that we can gaze upon the incredible beauty of every creature made in the image of God.


Carrying Grace    Let me look up and see only JESUS in every person I meet today.


#2 arletteh 2011-03-19 22:12
Jesus had never seen such transparency,of the Eternal One's Light shining through Him.This totally other-worldly experience,one could only prostrate oneself before!And, oh, let us bring it down to humanity. Let us somehow, enwrap it with tents!Let us make a tabernacle for it!Jesus had received God's Love and promise of God's Presence to endure what lay ahead!It was time to go down the mountain.---Whe re shall we find the little transfiguration s in our daily life? And where have we known the bigger ones on our journey?
#1 arletteh 2011-03-19 22:05
Light for me, is such a Presence of God, the Eternal, Ever-Present One, the All -Other. Transfiguration begins with that first inkling of what God may be having in mind for my life and that first “Yes!” Such was Mary’s “Yes”; such her Son’s as he consented to be baptized in solidarity with sinful humanity; such, Abraham’s, as he set out for a far and unknown land A great Love relationship is started, and is continued, and is , eventually found, to have a price(as has been mentioned in these reflections.).J esus, like us, after many journeyings, finds out what price is to be paid. It is about this that he speaks with Moses, the humble, patient, long-suffering leader of the Israelites, and Elijah, the fiery one who inflamed their imaginations.An d yes, death must be close, for Elijah has returned in John the Baptist.And look at his fate!What would they have to say about his(Jesus’) impending suffering and death? And, as Jesus prayed, he became transfigured.He accepted!The three with Jesus had never seen such transparency, of the Eternal One’s Light shining through him.This totally other-worldly experience, one could only prostrate oneself before. And oh, let us somehow enwrap it, with tents. Let us make a tabernacle for it! Jesus had received God’s Love and promise of Presence to endure what lay ahead! It was time to go down the mountain. Where shall we find the little transfiguration s in our daily life? And where have we known the bigger ones on our life’s journey?

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