Feast of the Transfiguration

Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, one of the major epiphanies of the Lord and His majesty. Just as the birth of Christ was an epiphany for the three Wise Men, so the Transfiguration was an epiphany of their Master’s true nature and divinity for Peter, James, and John. Why those three? Because Christ was preparing them for their distinct missions; Peter would be the first pope, John would be entrusted with the care of Mary and would have much to suffer, and James would be the first apostle to suffer martyrdom for the sake of the Kingdom.

So what is this great event telling us? We are like Peter, James, and John in the account. We are called to our own special missions to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world and this account has been laid out for us to show us Who we are really working for and the goal we are working toward. Jesus took the appearance of one of us, a regular man, but He was in fact divine, God the Son. Our end goal is to be happy with Him forever in Heaven. We must keep our eyes on this and not fall for the trap of being comfortable in the moment, like Peter did. He wanted to make tents, or tabernacles, for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah in order to stay in that moment of the Transfiguration longer. This is a kind of spiritual gluttony that we must guard against, because as good as experiencing a spiritual pleasure can be, it is not where we are meant to be at this time. Yes, when God gives us these tastes of Heaven we can be grateful and enjoy them, but we must not let them completely take us away from fulfilling our mission on earth. If we are still alive on this earth, then God still has plans to make use of us here and we must cooperate.

Something else that resulted from enjoying the moment too much and not focusing on what it really meant was that the three apostles seemingly forgot Who their Master was, even after this great epiphany, and fell asleep during His agony in the garden, even after Christ asked them to stay awake and pray. Then, James fled after Christ was arrested and Peter denied Him three times! Haven’t we all found ourselves doing similar things? Yes, we know that Christ is the Son of God and that He is our Savior and that Heaven is our ultimate goal. But when hard times come about and it seems too hard or risky to do things for Christ, we flee. Maybe we don’t say something to a good friend when they criticize Christians or the Catholic Church. Maybe we lie to get out of a punishment or uncomfortable situation. It may not be as drastic as explicitly saying that we don’t know Christ like Peter did, but it’s still a form of fleeing from Him. And why does it happen? Because we take our eyes off of what happened at the Transfiguration and of our end goal. We want to be comfortable in the moment, forgetting that our goal is to be comfortable in the next life, not this one.

So today, examine your conscience and ask God to give you the grace to see in yourself what you need to see in order to address it and grow closer to Him. Keep your eyes and mind on what occurred at the great epiphany of the Transfiguration and don’t get too comfortable in the moment, but remember that the glory of Heaven is our ultimate goal.

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