Transfiguration of the Lord
There is a theological principle in Latin that says, “Deus fit homo ut homo fieret Deus.” God became human that humans might become God. What does this mean? It means that God became one of us that he might elevate our human nature and make it a sharer in his own divine nature. Christ came to give us a share in his own life – a share in his Resurrection.
The Transfiguration of Jesus, the feast we celebrate today, is the great anticipation of his Resurrection. The word transfiguration means a change in form or appearance. Biologists call it metamorphosis – which is defined as “the process of transformation from an immature form to an adult form.” Think of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly; a tadpole becoming a frog; a seed becoming a flower.
Going back to the gospel reading… We are told that Jesus went up a high mountain, and there he was transfigured – “his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.” We are also told that a voice from the cloud said: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” The Father affirmed Jesus, expressed his love for him. And that transfigured or transformed Jesus.
The Feast we celebrate today is not just about Jesus; it is not just about what happened to Jesus on Mt. Tabor. It is also about us. It is also about what should happen to us. The Feast of the Transfiguration is an invitation for us to allow ourselves to be transfigured by God’s love.
We need to be transfigured precisely because we have been disfigured. We have been made ugly by self-centeredness and selfishness. We have been distorted by a wrong sense of values and priorities. We have been damaged by bitterness, unforgiveness, and hatred. We have been deformed by too much worries, anxieties, and fears. We have been defaced by greed, worldliness, and materialism.
Having been disfigured in these ways, we need to be transfigured by God’s love. How? Today’s gospel reading gives us a hint. “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” That is the key: listen to Jesus. Since this was said during the transfiguration of Jesus, we are somehow being told by that mysterious voice: “If you want to experience yourselves being transfigured like my beloved Son, then, listen to him.”
We can only listen to Jesus in prayer. We need to listen to Jesus in prayer to learn and imitate his self-sacrificing, self-giving ways. That we may turn away from selfishness – get rid of our selfish interests and ambitions. We need to listen to Jesus in prayer to hear and respond to his call to repentance, conversion, and renewal. That we may reject the distorted values of the world and right our wrong priorities. We need to listen to Jesus in prayer to believe in our hearts that God cares for us and would never abandon us. That we may be free from too much worry, fear, and anxiety. We need to listen to Jesus in prayer to be reminded of the need to forgive from the heart. That we may be liberated from hatred, resentment, and bitterness. We need to listen to Jesus in prayer to be able to live out the truth that our life does not depend on our possessions but on God’s provident love or God’s loving providence.
Let us allow the power of God’s love to transfigure us. Let us allow God to elevate our nature that we may share in his divine nature. Let us allow the Lord Jesus to give us a share in his own life. “Deus fit homo ut homo fieret Deus.”