The Mount of the Transfiguration is not too far from the Sea of Galilee. From every direction it rises distinctively from the plain landscape as a solitary hill.
In a similar way, the gospel account of the Transfiguration of Jesus rises up as if from nowhere in the Gospels and for this Second Sunday of Lent. 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 opens the door between earthly ordinariness, days and weeks of routine, mundane and struggling existence, and 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 pray. 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. In prayer we are taking time to savour our participation in the divine life of God.
After even a moment of prayer 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 since the real work of prayer is at a level deeper than our usual superficial way of living.
Prayer changes us. We are different, and because of this, even though we then move into the same reality and relationships, every moment is changed.
Such tastes of heaven enables us to live abundantly in every earthly situation.
- In the scriptures and in the lives of holy men and women throughout history the depths of human despair are the opportunity to enter the heights of personal relationship with God, and the mountain-top experiences are an encouragement to live more deeply. How have you experienced this in your life in the past week.