The Transfiguration not only reveals Christ transfigured but allows all of us to share the cross but also His glory. Too often Catholics get stuck at the crucifixion. Yet even before the cross and resurrection, way before Pentecost, Jesus shows us His glory. It is a glory that He offers to us His children when we humbly allow Him to save us. We become the children of God. Now we can here these words with Jesus, “This is my Son.” A glimpse of light, a tiny glimpse of our future life lived in, with and through Him.
This feast commemorates the manifestation of Christ’s glory as recorded by St. Matthew.
“Jesus took Peter, James and his brother John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves, and was transfigured before them. And His face shone as the sun, and His garments white as snow. And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking together with him. The Peter addressed Jesus, saying ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here. If You will, let us set up three tents here, one for You, one for Moses and one for Elias.’ As he was speaking, behold. A bright cloud overshadowed them, and suddenly a voice out of the cloud said, ‘ This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; hear him.’ And on hearing it the disciples fell on their faces and were exceedingly afraid. And Jesus came near them and touched them, and said to them, ‘Arise, and do not be afraid.’ But lifting up their eyes, they saw no one by Jesus only” (Mt. 17:1-8).
The Transfiguration is also in Mark 9:1-8, in Luke 9:28-36, and in St. Peter’s second Epistle 1:10-21.
From a psychological standpoint, Jesus ascended Mount Tabor with His disciple because they needed to see this miracle to prepare them for His death on the cross.
“You were transfigured on the mount and Your disciples insofar as they were able beheld your glory, O Christ our God, that, when they should see You crucified they would remember that Your suffering was voluntary and could declare to all the world that You are truly the effulgent splendor of the Father” (kontakion).
A stiffed neck Israel had rejected the Messias; but now the true Israel represented by Moses and Elias, recognized and adored him. One was a representative of the Law, the other, a representative of the prophets, “ for the Law and prophets do serve You since You are God” (kathisma).