Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray. While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But he did not know what he was saying. While he was still speaking, a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.” After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. They fell silent and did not at that time tell anyone what they had seen.
The glory behind ordinariness
Nowadays the concern for beauty or good looks knows no boundaries. The cosmetics and nutrition industries have never been so busy and aggressive in responding to people’s call for products that make them slimmer, younger, whiter, and more beautiful. Cameras and videos address this frantic hunger; many apps have been invented so that in just one click all the warts, blackheads, extra pounds, and blemishes disappear, and voilà, the flawless “you” appears!
Still, reality is reality. And we wonder whether there is an equal concern for how the inside can also be “beautified,” whether the heart is being made purer and more loving so that the external beauty can be matched with the inner beauty.
Jesus does not need cosmetics to let his real purity and splendor shine from within. At the Transfiguration, the apostles Peter, James, and John catch a glimpse of Jesus’ glory, and they do not want to come out of the experience. The man whom they have been seeing as just like any one of them is now presented to them in full glory and splendor. The experience surely leaves an indelible imprint on their soul. And what a privilege for them to catch a glimpse, albeit momentary, of the glory of Jesus, the beloved Son well-pleasing to the Father.
In his ordinariness as a human being, Jesus’ “glory” also shines. His coming down as a human being, letting go of his being equal with God, his self-emptying (kenosis) shows his splendor. So also is his life totally dedicated to saving people from various maladies, forgiving sins, driving evil spirits, and preaching the good news of the Kingdom.
The problem, however, is that the people of his time are stuck with his ordinariness and familiarity to them. They are looking for a God on a pedestal, a celebrity of the highest degree, a God who does not mingle with ordinary human beings, a God who is no different from them. But God wants the contrary: God wills to be near us and teach us how to be human and appreciate the beauty of being human, of being ordinary and yet beautiful and glorious inside.
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2019,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.