Then Peter spoke and said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say: they were overcome with awe. But a cloud formed, covering them in a shadow, and from the cloud came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved: listen to him!” And suddenly, as they looked around, they no longer saw anyone except Jesus with them.
As they came down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept this to themselves, although they discussed with one another what ‘to rise from the dead’ could mean.
Finally they asked him, “Why, then, do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?” Jesus answered them, “Of course Elijah will come first, so that everything may be as it should be. But why do the Scriptures say that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be despised? I tell you that Elijah has already come; and they have treated him as they pleased, as the Scriptures say of him.”
“There, his appearance was changed before their eyes.”
Here is one of the few times when the disciples were not forced to contend with riddles and parables but were afforded a glimpse of the thing itself—whatever that is: Christ in his future glory? Some kind of insight into the deeper heart of reality? In the typical life such epiphanies are rare. Most of us are no more equipped to face the naked truth than we are to stare at the sun. Nevertheless, we recall certain moments in our lives when everything appeared completely clear and vivid. The veil of everydayness was pulled aside and we sensed that we were standing on holy ground. What do we do with such experiences?
The Trappist monk Thomas Merton had such an experience one day at a busy intersection in the city, when he was overwhelmed by the realization “that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs.” He said, “There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.”
Such moments come in the lives of many disciples: a voice speaks to us from the midst of an encounter or an ethical challenge and says: “This is my Beloved Son; listen to him.” Woe to those who let such moments pass them by.
© Copyright Bible Diary 2019