“to announce the Good News of victory in battle”
and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And He was transfigured before them;
His face shone like the sun and
His clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them,
conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here,
one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.””
(“to perceive, discover, ponder a deeper meaning”)
For the evangelist Matthew, this ‘restored’ ability “to see” is crucial because in terms of his chronology, Matthew situates the Transfiguration among lessons on discipleship, Church order and Jesus’ Passion. Corbon writes: “The reason for the transfiguration can be glimpsed, therefore, in what the evangelists do not say: having finished to instruction preparatory to his own Pasch, Jesus is determined to advance to its accomplishment. With the whole of his being, the whole of his ‘body’, he is committed to the loving will of the Father; he accepts that will without reservation. From now on, everything, up to and including the final struggle at which the same three disciples will be invited to be present, will be an expression of his unconditional ‘Yes’ to the Father’s love (Wellsprings of Worship, 93).” In other words, Peter, James and John behold that Jesus’ glory lie in His total Gift of Himself in doing His Father’s Will. Jesus’ “Yes” is the light of glory transforming the darkness of sin and selfishness.
In many parishes this Sunday, the “Penitential Rite (Scrutiny)” will be celebrated for adults preparing for Full Communion with the Church during the Easter Season. The connection between the proclamation of Jesus’ Transfiguration and this Liturgical Rite is powerful. In the Rite, all are asked to pray that the candidates “will be given a spirit of repentance, a deepened sense of sin and the true freedom of the children of God (RCIA, 468).” The Church’s prayer, prayed over them, asks that they be “Enlightened … clearly seeing their sins and failings” that they “may place all their trust in Your mercy and resist all that is deceitful and harmful (RCIA, 470).”
Thus in the Liturgy “our eyes can be opened so that we may recognize the Lord and be transformed into Him. This, then, is the body of Christ, the sacrament of human salvation and God’s glorification. The liturgy creates in the Church the transfiguration of the ‘whole body’, which is now growing, the transforming union in which men become God (Wellsprings of Worship, 97).”