In Luke 9.28-36 Jesus was transfigured in the presence of three disciples, Peter and John and James. Was it a mere show of power? What was it about and what did it mean? Our Lord had already told his disciples that he would suffer and be put to death. He then encouraged them to follow the path of his suffering when he tells them to take up their cross and follow Him, and elsewhere says: “ …those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16.24). Before we decide to go down any road, we like to know where that road leads and what is at the end. If we see that that road is rough and heavy going, we will not even attempt it without knowing that the end is certainly delightful and worth the trouble. When Christ’s body was transfigured in the sight of the disciples, He was showing them the glory, not only of his soul, but also of his body, that would be achieved by his Passion and Death. This glory was not only meant for Christ, but for all disciples who follow in his footsteps as Scripture says: “It is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God,” and “He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory…” (Acts 14.22, Philippians 3.21). Saint Bede says that Jesus allowed the disciples to taste for a short time the vision of eternal joy, so that they might be strong in face of the persecution they too would have to suffer. When we pray, especially in Holy Mass, we enter into a contemplation of that eternal joy.
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