Life & Soul

Word this week

Transfiguration of Christ by Giovanni Bellini (1480)

The 18th Sunday of the Year
Dan 7:9-10 & 13-14; 2 Pet 1:16-19; Mt 17:1-9 (Year A)

The darkest moments in Israel’s long history frequently became the revelation of God’s power to save. From the depths of the Egyptian enslavement Moses was summoned into the presence of the Lord. On Mount Sinai he glimpsed the majesty of God’s glory, his compassion and his power to save.

The Book of Daniel, written during the Syrian persecution, speaks with the same confident hope. When hope had seemed helpless, Daniel’s vision spoke with a God given confidence. His vision, seeking to express an experience beyond words, spoke of one like a son of man coming on the clouds of heaven. This son of man, this promised Messiah, would become God’s final victory of the powers of darkness. A people once enslaved would share his triumph.

“His sovereignty is an eternal sovereignty which shall never pass away, nor will his empire ever pass away.”

The Transfiguration of Jesus stands at the heart of the gospels as a continuation of this same tradition. It speaks to believers in every generation, and especially to those moments, experienced by all, when the darkness threatens to overwhelm.

The context of the transfiguration, within the developing faith of the apostles, was crucial. They had been with Jesus for some time. He had brought them to commitment, voiced in Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Jesus had acknowledged their faith with the warning that theirs was to be a discipleship that must share in his suffering so as to enter into his glory.

The transfiguration, therefore, demonstrated that the darkness that they would undoubtedly share, could never overcome the light that they had experienced in Jesus. For Peter that experience was overwhelming.

“Lord, it is wonderful for us to be here.”

The words, spoken from heaven, confirmed that our only true resting place is with Christ the Lord, with him as the beloved sons and daughters of the Father.

“This is my Son, the beloved. He enjoys my favour. Listen to him.”

Let us pray that the transfiguration might confirm our faith that we are indeed, in Christ, the children of God. Already we share his hidden glory, yet to be revealed in us.