This event is foreshadowed in the first reading from Daniel, and Peter reflects upon it in the second reading. Matthew, Mark and Luke all record it, and all three place it strategically after the first prediction of the passion. We hear this story twice each year: on the second Sunday of Lent, and today. Pope St. Leo the Great (+461) explains the first: “The great reason for this transfiguration was to remove the scandal of the cross from the hearts of the disciples.” As we enter the dark tunnel of Lent he reminds us that, in the end, Jesus will be glorified.
It is August and I remember how Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stirred my soul in August 1963, with his “I Have A Dream” speech from the steps of my favorite place in Washington, the Lincoln Memorial. He, like Moses and Elijah, and Jesus, Peter, James and John, had been to the mountain, that classic place of encounter with God.
Today we can go to the mountain, so that we may not lose heart, but may have courage in our following of Jesus, and say with Peter: “Lord, it is good for us to be here.”
—Fr. Robert Braunreuther, S.J., a Jesuit of the New England province, serves in University Ministry at Loyola University Chicago, where he is also the minister of the Arrupe House Jesuit community.