The Transfiguration of Our Lord, as described by the evangelist St. Matthew, occurred on the mountain, with Jesus showing Peter, James and John, the foundations of our Church, His heavenly glory. The Father was commanding the Apostles and us, to listen to His Beloved Son. The Holy Spirit was present as the overshadowing cloud, the same overshadowing Spirit that descended upon our Blessed Mother at the Annunciation. This took place in chapter 17 of St. Matthew’s gospel, right after Our Lord first announced to His Apostles of His Passion, Death and Resurrection. The question is why Jesus needed to Transfigure Himself on Mt. Tabor?
Jesus needed to show the Apostles a small glimpse of His glory and ours because of the fall of original sin. We had original innocence, solitude, unity and nakedness without shame in the “beginning” in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve, deceived by the tempter, did not trust God’s revelation to them and fell, hence “Original Man” as St. John Paul II calls us in his masterpiece theological treatise called “Men and Women He created them-a Theology of the Body” now become “Historical Man,” mankind broken and wounded by sin. In Matthew 16:13-20 Simon beautifully receives, from the Father, the revelation that Jesus is the Christ, and is elevated by Jesus to Peter the rock. Yet, only 2 verses later, the new Peter, falls to the tempter as Adam and Eve did in the Garden, by rebuking that Jesus must suffer and die-he did not understand nor believe His Master. It is through the Cross-and only the Cross-that Jesus takes us to become “Redeemed Man” as St. John Paul II calls mankind after the Passion and Resurrection. Jesus then rebuked Peter AND EXHORTED THEM TO FOLLOW HIM TO THE CROSS. It is then that Jesus bring them up the mountain to show them what “Eschatological Man” can partake of, if we are obedient and trusting in the God who loves us unconditionally.
The Trinity is fully present on Mt. Tabor, and reminds the Apostles who Jesus truly is, even though the Spirit of God just revealed it to Peter, a chapter ago, but knowing broken “historical” Peter, the Father and the Spirit remind the Apostles again that Jesus is the beloved Son, which Adam forgot that he himself was a beloved son, as well. The Trinity not only tellsthe Apostles, but also shows the Apostles a glimpse of their own “redeemed” and “eschatological” destiny.
So many people today have lost the sense of the sacred and divine and have lost the sense of their true origin and true destiny-love and joy with God in eternal marital glory. May we be given the Divine grace to have our skepticism, doubt, shame and discouragement be transformed and healed by the unconditional love and mercy of God and truly believe we are a redeemed people whose eschatological destiny is to be glorified in heaven with the transfigured and glorified Christ, let us listen to Him. Amen.
by Fr. Tom DeSimone