Reflections on Transfiguration

As the Christian cycle moves from the winter light of Epiphany toward the spring light of Lent days grow longer and nights shorter. In this gradual movement the signs of light are varied in their beauty and clarity. Some light glimmers like the new fake candles that are a little off color. Some twilight is shrouded in wind and rain on a wet hike in early spring. Or some signs are the fleeting warmth in the heart.

In this time of transition, the Feast Day of the Transfiguration comes at the end of Epiphany before Ash Wednesday. Transfiguration is the complete change of form or appearance into a more beautiful state. It is a day that tells the story of Christ appearing in full, frightening, and light filled revelation of Jesus as the Son of Man to the disciples. The disciples are filled with fear and are told to wait, much like the Israelites who waited for Moses as he went up into the fiery, foggy top of Mount Sinai to receive the tablets of law and commandments. It is a surprise and unimaginable. Transfiguration is God’s revelation of who Jesus really is. Jesus’ whole being is transformed showing the glory of the eternal status of the divine Son.

In this season of transition for many people there is a sense of fear and a posture of waiting on cloudy and foggy mountains. In the Gospel reading in the midst of the waiting and the anxiety there is One who comes in the most dazzling and unexpected ways offering healing and redemption. 

On the road to death and resurrection, it is Christ’s suffering that is redeeming. Christ’s suffering is with and for the vulnerable, the lost, the forgotten, the grieving, the sick, the afflicted, the dying, the little ones.   As the season of darkness moves toward the light it must be a season of healing of the soul and the welfare of the people

The words to “tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised" indicates that people are not ready for the Transfiguration story because the disciples are not ready to tell it.   We must ponder our own readiness to tell the wonder of the Gospel message of suffering and redemption found in the midst of fear and anxiety.

A Prayer of St. Augustine:

Watch, O Lord, with those who wake, or watch, or weep tonight, and give
Your angels and saints charge over those who sleep.
Tend Your sick ones, O Lord Christ.
Rest Your weary ones.
Bless Your dying ones.
Soothe Your suffering ones.
Pity Your afflicted ones.
Shield Your joyous ones, and all for Your love's sake. Amen.

St. Augustine