Gospel Reflections

Feast of the Transfiguration

Mark 9:2-10

Feast Day Reflection by Sister Barbara Thiella

Published: August 06, 2015

Read Mark 9:2-10

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone by themselves. Read More…


“Become what you are.” This phrase keeps running through my thoughts as I consider the experience of Jesus and his closest followers on Tabor’ high peak. For Peter, James and John, alone by themselves with Jesus, the brilliance of their experience contrasts vividly with the prior week: then, Jesus had told them that he would be ill-used and rejected.  Now, transfigured in their presence, Jesus shows the full human impact of being Abba’s beloved Son. It is easier for them to listen to these words about Jesus than to remember his own recent statement, repeated from this point forward, that he would be despised and put to death. And whatever, they wondered, did he mean by “being raised up?”

Unlike his words last week that were confusing and dark, the present moment is filled with light and hope. The realization was still distant that they, too, were beloved sons through Jesus.  His death (and theirs) is not the end but a necessary step towards Abba.

Another perspective linking brilliance and darkness comes from the Hebrew tradition of story- telling. Jewish sages say that the first time Adam saw the sun go down, he was terrified. He had seen day but had never experienced the night.  God took pity on Adam and gave him two stones to rub together in order to create fire. The name of one stone was afehah, darkness and the other moreth, death.  As the spark emerged, Adam said, “Blessed be the Creator of light.” Out of darkness and death, the first human being realized that we can create light. (Rabbi David Wolpe) Tabor is Jesus’ experience of the same brilliance. As Jesus fully embraces his death and its darkness, Abba offers him the light and fire of his love. As each Sister of Notre Dame hangs a cross around her neck each day, underneath the cross is a profession that the goodness of God is in everything.

As I prayed over this event, one very personal perspective slipped into my thoughts. I remember vividly my mother on the last day of her life. How absolutely  transparent and lovely she was as she embraced death with hope of more. Her eyes held a beauty that could only have come from knowing at last that she, too, was a beloved daughter of Abba.

Hold closely your insights about the Mount Tabor story and become what you are. Blessed be God who grants us memory and gives us light. Then, when we finally see only Jesus,
he is enough.

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