There is something wonderful about the Feast of the Transfiguration that Roman Catholics just celebrated on August 6th. There is some debate around the date itself. Some suggest that it was in mid-late September due to the mention of “Booths” and the connection to the Jewish Feast of Sukkot. Others suggest that it was the early spring before Jesus’ death and resurrection as He used it to prepare the three apostles for the cross. No matter, because what we celebrate is not when the Transfiguration happened, but THAT it happened.
We perhaps know the story well enough. Jesus lead Peter, James, and John up the mountain, there to be transformed or better allowed to reveal His inner majesty. They struggle for understanding, seeing Moses (the law-giver) and Elijah (the Prophet). Peter offers to build booths or tents, signifying his desire to stay there. They hear a voice that could only come from God Himself, informing them that this is indeed His Son, and the exhortation to listen to Him.
One could easily underestimate the meaning of the Transfiguration. As already written, it was a means of preparing the apostles for the scandal of the Cross, as they would see Jesus as divine and know that He was to suffer. But even more, St. Peter himself sees something more profound, and writes of it in his second letter (2 Peter 1:16-19). He states that he was there when they witnessed Jesus’ majesty and heard the voice of God. He sees it as proof that the faith he lived, and the faith for which he would ultimately die, was not one of “cleverly devised myths”. He uses that experience to encourage the believers to trust in the Lord.
Think about that: St. Peter, who struggled for the words, wanting to stay in that moment, must have spent the rest of his life thinking about that moment, reflecting on it time and again. When moments were rough, perhaps he thought of it. When things were well, perhaps it inspired him to more. We, too, have been invited to encounter the Lord. Perhaps it was less majestic than the Transfiguration, but no less noble. Do we allow our encounter to inspire our actions, and are we sharing of that encounter with others, aiding in their walk with the Lord?