Vugt: The Transfiguration of our Lord

Arnold Van Vugt

IN THE Gospel of last Sunday, Matthew announces the transfiguration of Jesus: “Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John, and led them up a high mountain, where they were alone.

Jesus’ appearance was changed before them: his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became bright as light. Just then, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Jesus. Peter spoke and said to Jesus, Master, it is good that we are here, if you wish, I will make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”.

Peter was still speaking when a bright cloud covered them with its shadow, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, my Chosen One. Listen to him”.

On hearing the voice, the disciples fell to the ground, full of fear, But Jesus came, touched them and said, “Stand up, do not be afraid”.

When they raised their eyes, they no longer saw anyone except Jesus. And as they came down the mountain, Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone what they had just seen, until the Son of Man be raised from the dead.

The disciples then asked him, “Why do the teachers of the Law say that Elijah must come first?” And Jesus answered, “So it is: first comes Elijah to set everything as it has to be. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, but they did not recognize him, and treated him as they pleased. And they will also make the Son of Man suffer”.

Then the disciples understood that Jesus was referring to John the Baptist.

Luke 24:32 says about the same event: “Were not our hearts filled with ardent yearning when he was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures?”

Several times Jesus announced his death. Never did he present it as a misfortune that might counteract his mission. John will say that Jesus looked for it as the means for giving glory to his Father and reconciling humankind. Jesus speaks of himself in the third person: the Son of Man, because he looks at his destiny as a outsider. This is the will of his Father, and he is not concerned about himself.

This is a beautiful story, where Jesus announces his death and resurrection. It could be the story of our own life. If we really have faith, we know that someday we will die and we will rise again. Only God knows when this will happen, but we must be prepared for that day.

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