March 1, 2015
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Just as Abraham was willing to offer his beloved son, so St. Paul today tells us that our Heavenly Father hands over His beloved Son out of His love for us. It is precisely this Paschal Mystery, Jesus’ Exodus, that Elijah and Moses are discussing with Jesus in Luke’s account of the Transfiguration.
In this mountaintop experience before Christ’s passion, Peter, James and John become eye witnesses to a seemingly hidden mystery and reveal to us the answer to the burning question we have all asked: What was Jesus’ prayer life like?
It shouldn’t surprise us that Jesus took these blessed few to the mountaintop; Jesus often prayed in high places, even the Temple is on Mt. Zion. Like the saints of the Old Testament, the saints of the New Covenant continue to seek to raise their hearts, minds and souls up to God physically and spiritually. Our churches are often built on hills and almost always have steps leading up to the sanctuary for this very reason. It also shouldn’t shock us that Jesus is transfigured before their eyes; for in prayer, we not only see ourselves as we truly are, but we come to see ourselves as God sees us. As these disciples enter into Jesus’ prayer on that holy mountain, their eyes are opened wide to the Incarnate One, the God-Man who stands beside them in prayer, in communion with God. Obviously, the prayer the disciples experienced and witnessed that day was Trinitarian, for God is one: Father, vocally revealing His beloved Son, Son, transfigured revealing the glory of the Father and Holy Spirit, God’s love revealed in the Glory Cloud. Finally, we have present in Jesus’ prayer on this mountaintop two of the four Old Testament saints whom God had raised bodily. Peter, James and John see Elijah and Moses actually talking with Jesus. This is what prayer is after all, the reality of being with, talking to and listening to God and His angels and saints. Prayer is the lived reality that we are not alone and is a taste of heaven experienced here and now during our exodus from this life to the next.
Make no mistake about it, the Transfiguration is the pattern for and the expectation we should have for our own prayer life. Called to holiness, communion with God, let us embrace a life of vocal, meditative and contemplative prayer. Repenting and believing in the Gospel, let us turn from our former ways of life and climb the mountain of prayer to God. Let us voice our desire, meditate on His Word and mysteries, listen for His voice and gaze upon His beautiful face!
Catechism Question of the Week: Which event aims at strengthening the apostles’ faith in anticipation of His Passion, and prepares for the ascent to Calvary? A) The Resurrection, B) The Ascension, or C) The Transfiguration (see CCC 568)
With family, friends and those you meet, please discuss the following Question of the Week: How does the Samaritan woman’s growing relationship with Jesus reflect my relationship with Him?
In Christ’s Peace,