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By Dr. Mudita Menona Sodder, RSCJ
Transfiguration is a unique personal experience when we are touched by the Divine Presence and are deeply changed. It is a transforming and liberating moment for the one who undergoes it.
Intimacy with God, justice for God’s people and love for humanity can prepare the ground for such gratuitous divine encounters. Jesus had many such experiences, but what we are celebrating today is what Jesus had on Mount Tabor in the presence of His disciples Peter, James, and John.
Jesus’ holiness is symbolized by light. His face shone like the sun and His clothes became dazzlingly white (Mark, 9:3). Jesus looked radiant and was glowing and a diverse, ineffable light emitted from Him.
Moses and Elijah were talking with Him and when Peter, overcome with awe, reacted suggesting that they make three tents, a cloud overshadowed them and a voice declared, “This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to Him” (Mark 9:8). This shows that God was “well pleased with Him.”
Moses and Elijah disappeared, the voice stopped and only the human ordinary Jesus was visible. But he charged them not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Resurrection.
Sunday is the day of the Resurrection and the first day of the week when God created everything, including biodiversity in the universe. What’s more, God made human beings in His own image and likeness! In this context, the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor is extraordinarily special because it is an assurance that the first fruit of God’s new creation will be Christ’s Risen humanity, the pledge of the final transfiguration of all created reality” (LS 237). Isn’t this amazing?
When we live total selflessness, listening intently, using Otto Scharmer’s TheoryU, generative listening skills, or Martin Buber’s philosophy of dialogue, “Listening as Embracing the Other,” where the two become one, we become one with God and all His creatures.
Moses symbolized the law and the covenant, while Elijah symbolized the prophets. Moses and Elijah reassure Jesus that He has to fulfill the law and the prophecy. Jesus needed this reassurance because He was human like us in all aspects except sin.
When we obey God’s law and covenant and listen to the prophets He sends us, we experience glimpses of God’s majesty often seen, revealed, and realized at such transfigurative moments in our everyday life, such as the halo after a good authentic retreat or confession (Sacrament of Reconciliation), an “aha moment” while seeing something of exquisite beauty in nature or elsewhere, or the gentle touch of a compassionate loving hand in a moment of great pain and sorrow or healing or the ecstasy of love.
At such moments our countenance reveals the glow and radiance of the encounter with the Divine. If the magnitude of splendor of an encounter with the Divine is so great, how much more must the splendor or magnificence of God be?
- What does Transfiguration mean to you today?
- We have all had Transfigurative moments in our lives. Go back in memory and list three such events when the Divine touched you at a very deep level.
Dr. Mudita Menona Sodder, RSCJ, Sophia College, Mumbai, is the JPIC Coordinator for RSCJ India. She is the president of the Fellowship of Indian Missologists and member of the Editorial Board at the Catholic News Update of Asia.
The above story is part of the August Laudato Si’ Encounter. The spiritual resource is produced monthly for Laudato Si’ Animators, Laudato Si’ Circles, and everyday Catholics to use and help them grow closer to our Creator. You can find the entire resource, as well as past editions, here.