Godtalk: All Change!


A cross

Jesus revealed his glory to the disciples to strengthen them for the scandal of the Cross. His glory shone from a body like our own to show that the Church, which is the Body of Christ, would one day share his glory.' Preface of Transfiguration

In other words, the transformation of Christ is a sign of the transformation open to all Christians. As we hear in the Canon of this Mass, beyond the horizon of death 'we shall see you, our God, as you are; we shall become like you and praise you for ever through Christ our Lord.' 'We shall become like You.' We were created in the image and likeness of God. We are meant to become more truly conformed to God's likeness. This is beginning to happen now by the working of the Holy Spirit through the ordinary events of everyday life.

Like the moment when we were moved by some great work of art or music or literature; the moment when we realised that someone loved us; when we acted unselfishly, when we did something not for any reward but simply because we felt it was the right thing to do at the time; when we experienced loneliness but refused to panic because we sensed that this somehow reflected our uniqueness as persons.

Those were good moments, but even the worst can also be transforming. Like that time when someone very dear to us died and the shock seemed too much to bear. The scandal of the Cross became only too real - yet we trusted that the one we loved was safe in God's hands.

Our loved one died, but our love didn't die. In a strange way our love deepened. The vision in this gospel incident helps to strengthen us to face the scandal of the Cross in the light of the resurrection. This life is not the whole story. It is a vital part, a difficult part, but if we fully embrace this hardness of life, prepared each day to face its challenges and set-backs we find that life is now no longer a problem we find hard to handle - but rather the opportunity to grow in stature, to become the  true person we are meant to be.

The everyday disappointments and frustrations are a kind of little death. But the way we respond, with God's help, can give us some sense of resurrection as we find ourselves gradually changed, becoming more like Christ, more Christlike in everyday life.

For a moment, the disciples see Christ transformed. The scene ends with a cloud overshadowing the wonder of the moment. They saw only Jesus', the everyday Christ.  We need to keep this thought with us. Only instead of the person the disciples saw, we see only the Church, the Body of Christ we form today.

The ordinariness of the everyday Church cannot compare with the high points in our life. What the Church can do is to give a frame of reference within which we can understand the significance of these high points. It is the Church which helps us to see 'like the lamp lighting the way through the dark, until the dawn comes and the morning star rises in our minds.' 2 Peter /.19f

Celebrating the Transfiguration is an opportunity to recall the highest point in our lives, the moment when we went outside of ourselves, giving ourselves to something beyond: to recall that high point, and live up to it.

Peter Knott SJ