Jesus provides us with moments of joy and consolation on our journey of faith to sustain us through the dark valleys.
In today's Gospel, Jesus leads Peter, James, and John up a mountain and reveals to them his glory as the only Son of the Father. They had already come to believe in him because of his words and miracles. In the previous chapter of Matthew's gospel, Peter had made his profession of faith that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. This, now, was an opportunity to see for themselves the divine glory of Jesus hidden in his humanity.
There was a specific reason why Jesus did this. He wanted to give them a glimpse of his resurrection so they would desire it enough to endure his passion and death, and to endure the demands that ministry with Jesus would place on them.
Jesus was asking a lot of Peter, James, and John. He called them to leave their families and jobs. He required them to believe that he was the Son of God. And he sent them to proclaim that to others. In time, he would ask them to accompany him through his suffering and death. Remember, it was Peter, James, and John who would also go up to the Mount of Olives with Jesus as he suffered the agony in the garden. For them to accomplish all this, they would need something to hold on to, a memory of Jesus' glory to sustain them along the way. And so, Jesus' transfiguration gives the apostles a taste of the future resurrection to help them accept the suffering and shame of the cross.
Paul encourages us in the second reading, "Bear your share of the hardships which the gospel entails." Jesus is asking a lot of us as well. Unlike the apostles, we have never seen Jesus, yet he expects us to accept him as Savior and Lord. To each of us he has given a certain mission which he expects us to undertake. Whether our mission is to be a good parent, a good student, a good spouse or a good priest or deacon, we need help, especially when we encounter hardships. For us to be faithful to Jesus and to the mission he's called us to, we need small glimpses of his glory.
God is revealing to us His glory in the face of Christ so that our desire to know and love Him will be greater than any difficulty we may face on our journey of faith. Peter, James, and John were privileged to see for themselves Jesus transfigured in glory. We have to hold on to less dramatic manifestations of Jesus' presence in our lives as a small taste already on earth of the life that we will share with Jesus in heaven. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Eucharist. Bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ to give us on earth a taste of the intimacy we will have with God in heaven. Through the Eucharist, Jesus is really present among us and within us. We hold on to that small taste of future glory to sustain us during the hardships which come with living the gospel message of love. And we claim it as a promise that one day that glory will be ours with Jesus at the end of time.
—Douglas Sousa, S.T.L.
Your glory is present to us always
In the love of a spouse
In the smile of a child
In the beauty of creation
In the word that consoles us
In the sacraments that strengthen
And heal us.
Open our eyes to those glimpses
Of your glory hidden everywhere
So that we can find strength
To bear our cross
And so that we can help others
Bear their burdens as well.