Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord
It is such a difficult concept trying to grasp the idea that Jesus is both human and divine. Today is the feast of the Transfiguration and the readings help us to understand how the disciples saw Jesus as both a prophet/ teacher and Christ /Son of God because of their personal experiences. Do we know Jesus as both human and divine and how does our faith call us to respond to His call?
Several years ago my husband and I climbed the same hill that Peter, James and John had climbed with Jesus that led to the place where the Transfiguration occurred. When we arrived at the summit, I wondered what that experience must have been like for the apostles. They experienced Jesus- both human and divine. As they climbed up the mountain talking with Jesus, they were accompanying their teacher and friend. They were His disciples following Him, learning from Him, and trying to understand how Jesus was calling them to live in relationship to God and others.
Then they saw Jesus with Elijah and Moses and they hear the voice of God speak, “This is my beloved Son, Listen to Him.” On the way down the mountain the disciples are trying to comprehend the significance of the vision that they had just experienced and exactly what “rising from the dead meant.” Jesus revealed something far beyond the ordinary that afternoon. How are they supposed to follow someone who is more than just a teacher- who is the Son of God?
In today’s first reading, St. Peter is writing after Jesus’ resurrection, and he shares that he and the other apostles had been “eyewitnesses” to Jesus’ glory given from God the Father. Because of their transfiguration experience they now recognize that Jesus is more than just a prophet and friend- He is the Risen Christ- the Son of God. Peter feels compelled to share this “prophetic message” as a “lamp shining in a dark place.” Peter now sees the glory and majesty of Jesus, and he calls others to believe and worship.
These readings call us to reflect on how we see Jesus and how we are called to respond to Him. Since Jesus is both human and divine, this influences our relationship with Him just as it did the apostles. When we relate to Jesus as human, we are able to understand his teachings on how to live, since He not only preached about right relationships with God and others, but He lived his life perfectly in this way. He calls us as disciples to follow Him in the way we think, speak and act.
When we encounter Jesus as divine, there is a sense of awe. The risen Christ is in all and with all things, so there is a sense of omnipresence and omnipotence. Seeing Jesus as the Christ creates this deep response of worship and praise as we see a God who is beyond all measure of love, mercy and peace.
Putting our faith into action can be challenging. In some ways it seems easier to worship and praise God, but much more difficult to live as He calls us to live. We are called to do both. When I reflect on Jesus and His life, everything He did and said was not to draw attention to Himself, but to share God’s love and mercy. Maybe the best way that we can truly worship Christ is to live a life of love and compassion for others. If imitation is the highest form of praise, then by living as Jesus did we can praise Him and glorify the Father through our lives of service and love.
“Loving Father, You shared Your beloved Son with us so we can know You and Your love. Through the grace of Your Spirit, help us to imitate Jesus in all that we do and say. May we give you glory with our lives, so that all people may come to know You as LORD. We pray this through Christ our LORD. Amen.”
- Marylynn Herchline