A Perspective on the Transfiguration
By Deacon Rich
Much of the Scriptures during Lent zeros in on the Biblical lives of Peter, James, and John. The Apostle Paul in Galatians 2 calls them the “pillars of the faith”. Our Savior called twelve disciples to be His Apostles. Out of those twelve, he was especially close to these three. And out of these three, John was soon to be called “the Disciple whom Jesus loved.” We learned the decision to call certain people to be His Apostles was preceded by prayer – something we, too, should do on a regular basis! We also learned that He saw all people as just that, individual people with individual needs and special/unique gifts. Similar accounts of the Transfiguration appear in each of the Gospels by Matthew, Mark and Luke. Each Evangelist tells it from his viewpoint and what he particularly wanted to emphasize. Let’s see what we learn from each one.
Like Sgt. Friday in “Dragnet” of old, Matthew, who appeals mainly to his Jewish hearers, tells the story of Jesus’ transfiguration. He gives us the basic facts:
- “6 days” (Luke says “8 days”) – basically the number of days between Sabbaths depending upon what was your first day of reference
- The 3 pillars – Peter, James, and John – are by themselves with the Lord Jesus.
- Jesus was “transfigured” – the word in the Greek is “metamorphosed” – the same word used when a butterfly comes out of a cocoon. See 2 Cor. 5:17 where we become new creatures. See Romans 12:1,2 – the word “transformed” is the same word as here written “transfigured”.
- The clothes were as white as light
- There were Moses and Elijah
- Peter opens his mouth “to change feet”, as it were – he always talked before he thought!
- The voice of the Father giving His pronouncement of blessing upon His Son
- Seeing Jesus (v, 8) – in His glory is to be their “norm of life.”
Mark writes his gospel from a servant’s perspective, so we should expect the references to our Savior to involve service.
In his account on the transfiguration, he says basically the same facts as Matthew.
However, he does add some interesting details about our Savior’s transfigured appearance:
“Shining” – brighter than lightning!
“white” – like snow. This should remind us of Isaiah 1:18, where when we respond to our Savior’s invitation, we are as “white as snow.” And it is said of those who are the martyred in of the Book of Revelation, that their clothes are white – just like their Savior.
“Launderer” – a fitting description of Someone Who is coming to serve
Like Matthew and Mark, Luke, too, tells the facts of the transfiguration. But Luke is a doctor, so it shouldn’t surprise us that he gives us some descriptive details that are not in the other two gospels.
Luke zeroes in on the conversation between Moses, Elijah, and Jesus. What did they talk about? What would we think they would talk about: the desert: the chariots: the Miami Dolphins? No, they talked about the cross, and of Jesus’ upcoming death for sinners. This is what we are to glory in (Galatians 6:14).
What moved these three the most about what they saw? How can we find out? By checking the Scriptures! John’s Book of Revelation is a testament to Jesus’ glory. By the time John wrote Revelation, James had been martyred and was in glory. And Peter gives us some insightful remarks as to how the transfiguration affected him: 2 Peter 1:16-18 tells us that the Transfiguration affirmed to Peter’s soul the uniqueness of Jesus alone, and the trustworthiness of the Scriptures.
Do we have that faith? Do we have that trust? We must answer those questions for ourselves!
“Be a friend. Be a friend of Jesus. Make friends for Jesus.” -Bishop Zubik
Opportunity is everywhere to “be a friend, be a friend of Jesus, and make friends for Jesus,” as Bishop Zubik says. Evangelization is about friendship and accompaniment.
The Brookline-Beechview Catholic Church Cluster seeks to be a welcoming community for all. Our parishes are full of faithful and close-knit people. We are generous with our time, talent, and treasure and we work to help each other.
Our parishes have:
- Dedicated priests, deacons, lay ministers, and staff who love the Lord and love the people they are called to serve. They work tirelessly to serve in whatever ways are asked or required.
- Established parishioners who have worshiped at St. Catherine of Siena, Resurrection, St. Pius X, and Our Lady of Loreto for years, and in many cases, generations. They have built and maintained ministries that serve our parishes and our communities.
- A growing young adult population that is passionate about living the faith and seeks ways to create community. They are stepping into leadership roles and creating and implementing ideas for the future of the Church.
- Have a growing Hispanic and Latino population that allows us to be a shared parish. They bless us with deep faith and vibrant worship. Their stories connect us to our past – we remember that many of our established parishioners were members of immigrant families. We seek to inspire the world by building understanding and unity in the love of God.
- Have the benefit of being located in two of Pittsburgh’s communities that have large youth populations. The youth contribute their gifts, give us opportunities to pass on the faith, and call us to greater discipleship.
We are encouraged about the future of the Church and know that our diversity is strength and a reason for hope. We are challenged and encouraged.
Diocesan resource: http://churchevangelizing.com/
To see upcoming events, visit the 4-Parish Calendar or News pages.
Want to talk? Have ideas? Contact Bridgette, the director of evangelization, at firstname.lastname@example.org or other staff via the Contact Us page.