The Transfiguration of Jesus

Published February 28, 2021, 12:59 AM

by Manila Bulletin


MARK 9:2-10

Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them.

As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant.

A glimpse of the end

Every story has a beginning and an ending. But sometimes when the story becomes complicated and the subplots seem intricate, we are tempted to have a peek at the end chapters to see the outcome or conclusion. Such is the story of faith and hope; it propels us to the future with much anticipation because we know that the storyteller will make the ending really exciting.

The story of Abraham in the First Reading starts with a promise. Abram leaves his land of birth to a “promised land” that God will show him. He does not know where it is, but God assures him that he will be the father of a great nation… and all the communities of the earth will be blessed through him. The Lord directs Abram.

The Transfiguration event of the Gospel presents to us two important figures of the Old Testament: Moses who represents the Law (Torah), and Elijah who represents the Prophets. The life of the Hebrew nation is hinged on the Mosaic Law and the Prophets. To be a righteous Jew, one has to be a strict follower of the Mosaic Law, for it touches all aspects of his personal, social, and religious life. As it were, the Mosaic Law directs the Jew in all activities and situations of his life. Yet despite all these, the Jews were recalcitrant sinners, disobedient and unfaithful to God and his laws. Thus, the role of the prophets is to remind them through the centuries to follow the law of the Lord and his instructions. The prophet often begins his utterance: “Thus says the Lord… The Lord said to me…”

The Law of Moses and instructions of the prophets were not enough. Finally, in the New Testament, God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, so that God would have a face and voice, and a hand that would lead mankind (not just the Jews) into the Kingdom of God. So, from the cloud we hear the voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Truly, Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life who leads all to the Father. The Transfiguration is a glimpse of the future triumph of Jesus, who destroyed death and brought life and immortality. It is also a glimpse of a happy ending: the glory that awaits those who follow Jesus.

SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2021,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: