4 Ways the Transfiguration of Jesus Can Inspire Your Catholic Faith
Written by catholicradio on August 6, 2023
…in the Transfiguration it is not Jesus who receives the
revelation of God; rather, it is precisely in Jesus that God
reveals himself and reveals his face to the Apostles.
Pope Benedict XVI
The Feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus is celebrated in the liturgical year on August 6th. The account of this event is found in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. When we examine the public ministry of Jesus, we see that it began with His baptism and ended with His ascension into Heaven. Within this timeline, the Transfiguration is actually the culmination of His public life.
As we listen to the gospel readings each year it can be a temptation to gloss over familiar stories. However, feasts such as the Transfiguration, are a call to us as Catholics to re-examine our spiritual life in light of new understanding from the Holy Spirit. Here are four ways the Transfiguration of Jesus can inspire your Catholic faith:
The Transfiguration Reminds Catholics That God Provides Grace For What Is To Come
When Jesus took Peter, James, and John up the mountain with Him, these apostles experienced a manifestation of God’s glory. This occurred before Jesus was arrested. Experiencing the radiance of the Son and hearing the Father must have been an experience the three men pondered and sought to understand.
The gospels show the apostles’ confusion after parables and teachings of Jesus. Recalling the Transfiguration certainly added context and understanding. Even though the apostles experienced a range of human emotion at the arrest, crucifixion, and death of Jesus, everything Jesus said and did was deliberate to prepare His apostles to complete the mission to which He called them.
As we reflect on this gospel story, we are invited to reflect on our own difficult missions in life. God is beyond time and “knows what you need before you ask Him” (Matt 6:8). The Transfiguration reminds us that as long as we stay tied to Jesus, we will receive the graces we need to sustain us during trials ahead.
The Mountain-Top Experience Of the Transfiguration Calls Catholics To Time Apart With God
Old Testament Scriptures tell of the mountain-top encounters of God with both Moses and Elijah, both who are present at the Transfiguration, as well. Moses received revelation from God on Mount Sinai, and Elijah experienced God in a gentle breeze. It is significant that the apostles were invited to the mountain for their own revelation of Jesus in their midst.
We, too, are invited “to the mountain” for an encounter with God. While we may not have an opportunity to journey to an actual mountain, we can take advantage of retreats offered, parish guest speakers, or missions. If none are available or we aren’t able to attend, we can go out into nature, our own backyards, or even a corner in our home to raise our minds to God.
By practicing lectio divina or simply imagining the scene, we can step into the Transfiguration. There in our mind’s eye and soul we can meditate on the manifested glory of God and listen to hear Jesus call to us: “Come, follow Me.”
Reflecting On the Transfiguration Invites Catholics To Listen To Jesus, Not the World
As mentioned above, Moses and Elijah went up the mountain to receive revelation from God the Father. The Transfiguration is different in that Jesus does not receive revelation, it is He Who reveals Himself to the apostles. In a glorious cloud themselves, the apostles heard the voice of God command, “Listen to Him.”
Our world and lives are full of noise. Competing messages vie for our attention daily. Jesus’ revelation of Himself, along with the voice of the Father, are relevant to us today. They invite us to turn away from noise, seek the face of Christ, and listen to His words and teachings in the gospels.
Your Catholic Faith Can Be Nurtured By the Message of Love In the Transfiguration
Reading the account of the Transfiguration, one might focus on the radiance of Jesus and interpret it such that the human aspect of Jesus was elevated to the radiance of God. However, this is not so. Jesus Christ
…emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, being born
in human likeness. And being found in human form, he
humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death…
Phil 2: 7-8
The Transfiguration demonstrates that Jesus, both God and man, took the form of a man to walk among His people and draw everyone to Himself. Jesus, in taking the form of a man, showed His love for you!
Our human bodies someday will pass away, and we have the hope of Heaven waiting for us. There our human bodies will be transformed to conform with Jesus’ glorified body. We can use the feast of the Transfiguration as an opportunity to draw close to the heart of Jesus.
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