Today our group visited Mount Tabor.
This Mount of the Transfiguration of Jesus is not too far from the Sea of Galilee. From every direction it rises distinctively from the plain landscape as a solitary hill.
In the same way the account of the Transfiguration of Jesus rises up almost from nowhere in the Gospels. We have Jesus preaching, teaching and performing miracles that have an effect on some but not on others, then, all of a sudden Jesus is speaking with the Old Testament prophets Moses and Elijah and his clothes become ‘dazzlingly white, whiter than any earthly bleacher could make them’.
Our contemporary and pragmatic minds might prefer to dismiss the Transfiguration of Jesus as a bit of unnecessary magic. We need to dismiss such a pragmatic response.
The Transfiguration of Jesus is the event that begins to open the door between earthly ordinariness, (days and weeks of routine and mundane and struggling existence), and the divine eternity. In this moment Peter, James and John got a taste of something more; so much so that they could not even put it into words and did not speak of the event when they went down the mountain.
This is what happens every time we celebrate the Mass. The door between heaven and earth is thrown open by God. We express our struggle and our sin and God pours grace onto and into us. We become again a part of the divine life of God.
When we leave the church after Mass we are not the same people. Like Peter James and John we struggle to put this into words. We are not even really sure what has happened.
The fact is, we have tasted heaven and in the most tangible form of communion, heaven has come INTO us. We are different, and because of this, even though we go home into the same reality and relationships, every moment of the week ahead is different.
Top, the Mount of the Transfiguration rises from the plain
and below a quiet spot over the fence from the Monastery on the hilltop.