Daily Reflection
August 6th, 2000
Larry Gillick, S.J.
The Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Transfiguration of the Lord - Feast 
Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
Psalms 97:1-2, 5-6, 9
Second Peter 1:16-19
Mark 9:2-10

This Sunday of Ordinary Time is replaced by a most extraordinary event.  We see Jesus taking Peter, James and John out of ordinary time and place.  They go up a mountain for what we might call a “Confirmation ceremony.”  These three companions of Jesus will be the same trio who accompany Jesus into the Garden of Olives where they will fall asleep.  What they see today is almost a dream, but they remain wide-awake.

In the First Reading of today’s liturgy, we hear of a vision which Daniel had of a “Son of man” being presented to and blest by the “Ancient One.”  “Dominion, glory and kingship” are entrusted to the “Son of man.”  The vision confirms the kingdom of the “Son of man” as ever lasting and indestructible.

The Second Reading is an eyewitness account by Peter of that great day when “a unique declaration came to Him from the majestic glory.”  Peter, in this letter, is confirming that his preaching is real and based in a personal experience.

The Baptism of Jesus ordained Him to go public as the “New Israel.”  He heard then that He was a “Son of man” and the “Beloved of God.”  Today’s Gospel is a description of a ratification and blessing of how Jesus has lived His ordination.  His followers are also confirmed by their personal experience of something very mysterious and yet comforting.  Peter wants to set up booths and preserve the holy event for themselves.  As is usual for Jesus, any intimate encounter with Him is meant both for the now and the then.  Jesus is revealed to them again as the "beloved of God," but this is not to be preserved in a booth, but lived out in the lives of those who have seen and those who believe in what others have seen and heard.

Jesus is always more than meets the eye.  In the Transfiguration, the more is revealed quite a bit.  Something more is let out of the Divine bag.  The three beholders are both blest and baffled by what is happening.  They are learning slowly that there is something here in Jesus that both meets the eye and something that is appreciated only through the eyes of faith.  God loves and respects our freedom so much that there will always be enough to be seen by the eyes to attract us, but not enough to force us to believe.  Peter, James and John follow Jesus down the hill to continue living what they have seen and what they are called to believe.

There are, in our lives, moments of “transfiguration.”  There are times when looking into the face of somebody who loves us so deeply that words fail, that their face takes on more than meets the eye.

There are encounters with nature’s displays; eagles swooping, roses intoxicating, babies birthing and many experiences which can move us to the building of booths.  These are wordless, but deep-communicatings from the God Who figures and then transfigures through sacraments of personal touchings.  These are so intimate that they can not be achieved, but simply received and believed and then lived.  We, with the Apostles, go back down our mountains ecstasy to live more tenderly and awake in the “in-stasy.”

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