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The Transfiguration of the Lord

The Transfiguration of the Lord
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  • Feast Day: August 6th

The New Testament tells us of the Transfiguration of the Lord, in which Jesus is transfigured and becomes “radiant” upon a mountain.  The Gospels of Matthew 17:1-9, Mark 9:2-8, Luke 9:28-36 describe it with details, while 2 Peter 1:16-18 refers to it.  

In these accounts, Jesus and three of is apostles go to a mountain.  While on that mountain, Jesus begins to shine with bright rays of light.  All of a sudden, the prophets Moses and Elijah appear next to Jesus and he speaks with them.  God the Father speaks from a Cloud and calls “Son”.  

The Transfiguration is one of the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels.  This miracle is unique as it happens to Jesus Himself.  St. Thomas Aquinas considered this the “greatest miracle” since it complemented baptism, and showed perfection in heaven.  The Transfiguration is one of the five major milestones in the life of Jesus; Baptism, Transfiguration, Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension.  In Christian teachings, the Transfiguration is a pivotal moment, where human nature of Jesus meets God, the meeting place of temporal and the eternal, with Jesus himself being the bridge, acting as the connecting point.   

In the Gospels we learn that Jesus takes Peter, James, and John with him and goes up the mountain.  Once on the mountain, Matthew 17:2 states that Jesus “was transfigured before them; His face shining as the sun, and His garments became white as the light”.  At that point the prophets Elijah and Moses appear and Jesus begins to talk to them.  Luke is specific in describing Jesus in a state of glory.  Luke 9:32 referring to the Transfiguration, “They saw His glory”.  

Just as Elijah and Moses begin to depart from the scene, Peter begins to ask Jesus if the disciples should make three tents for him and the two prophets.  Before Peter could finish, a bright cloud appears, and a voice from the cloud says, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him”.  The disciples then fall to the ground in fear, but Jesus approaches and touches them, telling them not to be afraind.  When the disciples look up they no longer see Elijah or Moses. 

When Jesus and the apostles are going back down the mountain, Jesus tells them not to tell anyone “the things they had seen” until the “Son of Man” has risen from the dead.  At that time, they questioned what “risen from the dead” meant.