Every year on this Second Sunday of Lent we consider this great event of the Transfiguration of our Lord. Jesus appears in all his glory along with Moses and Elijah to his three closest apostles.
Elijah the Prophet
One interesting aspect of this apparition is the fact that Elijah is present alongside Moses. In the past other prophets were honored more. Daniel is praised, not only in his book, but in Ezekiel and the First Book of Maccabees as an extremely holy man. In the Second Book of Maccabees, it is related that Jeremiah is the honored prophet who hid the Ark of the Covenant before the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem.
When we read the Gospels, it is clear that Elijah is the most popular prophet at the time of Jesus. He is the one mentioned most often, possibly because of the prophecy of Malachi that Elijah would come to prepare the way of the Lord.
Visionaries and Visions
In my history as a priest—and before–I have come across people who have experienced visions. Often the visionary publicizes the visions. Often she is called to make other people aware of what she sees. Jesus or Mary uses the visionary to communicate something important to the world. But I have also met a visionary whose visions were meant for herself. Mary did not have a message to be told others; she had inspiration and instruction for the woman in her own life, about the life of prayer and penance she was being called to lead.
Today’s vision seems to have been, in the first place, directed especially to Peter, James and John. God knew that the three closest apostles to Jesus would be tempted to abandon Jesus in his time of greatest danger. He wants to strengthen the faith of the three. He wants to show them the exalted state Jesus has. He wants to show them the importance they themselves have in promoting the faith Jesus has brought.
Ultimately, of course, the content of the Transfiguration was made known through the Gospels. Jesus instructed the three not to make known the event before his resurrection, but afterward. The writers of the Gospels were somehow informed of it, and wrote it down for all of us.
Inspiration for Us
There are times in the life of every serious follower of Christ that will be difficult. Jesus mentions carrying our cross even daily. When we encounter those occasions, we should think of the Transfiguration. We should read of this great event with joy. May the thought of Jesus appearing in glory be an inspiration for us in the tough times of life.
May God strengthen our faith by every word of His in all of scripture. Thank you Father Mike for these encouraging words for every day of our life.