Jesus took Peter, John, and James
and went up a mountain to pray.
While he was praying his face changed in appearance
and his clothing became dazzling white.
And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah,
who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus
that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.
Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep,
but becoming fully awake,
they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.
As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus,
“Master, it is good that we are here;
let us make three tents,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
But he did not know what he was saying.
While he was still speaking,
a cloud came and cast a shadow over them,
and they became frightened when they entered the cloud.
Then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”
After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone.
They fell silent and did not at that time
tell anyone what they had seen.
Today the Church celebrates with great joy the Transfiguration of our Lord. Why did Jesus take Peter, James and John up Mount Tabor and show Himself in glory with Moses and Elijah? Think about what was coming up – the passion, crucifixion and death of Jesus. Jesus wanted to show them there was hope when things looked bad. He wanted them to see that there was new life after death even when things looked bleak.
We too may have mountaintop experiences with our Lord. It might be the birth of your child. It might be a retreat experience. It might be a walk in nature. It might be receiving your first Communion or Reconciliation or some other sacrament. I believe that the Lord reveals Himself to us in glory many times during our lives. He is trying to show us that He is with us always, as He promised before ascending into heaven. He is trying to show us His love always. And Jesus wants us to hold onto hope when things look bad.
We also all have desert experiences when we feel like God is nowhere to be found. St. Ignatius of Loyola says that we should remember these mountaintop experiences, for they will carry us through the desert and dry periods of life. He says the powerful experiences of God are like never-ending fonts of grace that we can return to time and time again.
For example, the first time I received Communion (by accident) I had a mountaintop experience. I felt the presence of Jesus Christ in my heart at that moment so powerfully. I can honestly say that I don’t have that same mountaintop experience every time I receive Communion or celebrate the Holy Mass, but I know deep in my heart that the Lord is present. I recall those powerful experiences when I question what I’m doing or have doubts about God’s presence in my life.
The Transfiguration was not just meant for Peter, James and John, but for you and me as well. Jesus wants to give us hope in the middle of our trials and tribulations.
So let us take time today to reflect on our mountaintop experiences. Write them down with as much detail as you can remember. These will be important when you are feeling down and your prayer is dry. The Lord loves you and wants you to know that He will be with you until the end of time.
You may say, “I have never had a mountaintop experience.” I encourage you to spend time each day in silence reflecting on your life. Reflect on each day and how the Lord reveals Himself to us. Love is self-revelatory always. When two people fall in love, they reveal their true selves to one another. Jesus does that with us all the time. Do I reveal myself to Him?