The Feast of the Transfiguration
The Transfiguration is a central feast of the Church, although it often seems to be an afterthought in the the liturgical life of the local church. While a major feast, it should be admitted honestly that it is difficult to get all the pieces together for a Solemn Mass on a weekday in August to commemorate this day. The Transfiguration deserves no less of a celebration than the highest commemoration we can make, as it is both a declaration of the Divinity of Christ and His Humanity, as well as, the declaration of what awaits those who "put on Christ".
On Mt. Tabor the human flesh of our Lord shines with the brightness of Divinity, the Uncreated Light. While Jesus' transfiguration is one of revelation of the reality of Christ's two natures, it is also a promise that we too are to be united with God, through grace, and that in our own transformation the Divine Energy is to suffuse us and shine in us. St. Paul affirms this in 2 Corinthians 3.18: "And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another." Here St. Paul uses the same term used to define what occurs on Mt. Tabor when Jesus is transfigured.
Paul also uses the image of "unveiled" faces as a reminder that we see this promise in the life of Moses. When Moses descended from Mt. Sinai, from his discourse with God, he did so with a face that shone with a brightness of grace so stunning that the Hebrews requested that he veil his face before them. From that point on Moses stood veiled in front of the tribes of the Hebrews, and only removed the veil when he entered the Tabernacle for prayer.
We even have this promise, this goal of Christian life, proclaimed to us in our own building. Of all the scenes from the Life of Christ depicted in our windows, the one major event that is not portrayed is the Transfiguration. Why? Because we, the Body of Christ, are to be the ones transfigured by grace each and every time we come together and celebrate the Mass. Every time we receive the Holy Sacrament we are transformed, transfigured, by that Divine Grace and become evermore the image and likeness of God.
Let us give thanks for the Transfiguration and the promise that it holds for all who are in Christ Jesus.