Dn 7:9-10,13-14; Ps 97:1,2,5,6,9; 2Pt 1:16-19; Lk 9:28-36
For several years now more Catholics have been meditating on this the fourth Luminous Mystery of the Rosary. Although our holy father John Paul II wrote many and various letters and reflections, his assigning five other biblical icons to what he called the school of contemplation will undoubtedly touch the prayer life of more Catholics than any of his writings. One overarching theme for the entire set of Luminous Mysteries is obedience. With the ear of our heart we can hear the command of the Father, “listen to him.” The book of Daniel gives witness to a watchful attendence. Twice the first reading mentions how closely the seer was being obedient with his senses: watching while the visions of the night continued. The Letter of Peter also mentions a voice of command from heaven that was heard on the holy mountain. The Psalm announces that the heavens proclaim his justice and all the peoples see his glory. By obedient faith in the Transfigured One we can both see his glory and hear his Father’s voice in our feast day liturgy.
During the Babylonian Captivity the exile Daniel was caught up in a glorious vision of the Ancient One. His dominion and sovereignty over the exiles was absolute and faithful. The Lord set upon a throne on wheels of burning fire. He is not captive to the land of promise; the Lord follows his people and sets up his court even in the midst of his exiled people. Daniel catches a glimpse of the future glory of the one like a Son of man who is presented before the Ancient One. Here is the king of glory whose dominion shall not be taken away even by the world dominating Babylonian Empire. His faithful servant Daniel sees him, and Daniel’s vision give hope in sharing what he saw as the visions during the night continued.
While Rome still dominates the world of the early church, Saint Peter makes known the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He proclaims the hope and promise of the Lord Jesus, the Most High Over all the earth. His word of encouragement touches the ears and hearts of the people still caught up in the power of the Roman Empire. Do not fear! Keep the ear of your heart attentive to the unique declaration of the Father’s majestic voice: “This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” The Father is so delighted in his Son because he reveals the future glory to which we are all called by our baptism and confirmation.
Here at every liturgy we have a little transfiguration. The ordained ministry of the priest’s words and the rushing forth of the Holy Spirit catches the bread broken and the wine outpoured and transfigures that which is earthly and makes it heavenly. In Saint Luke’s account of this great mystery on the mount of transfiguration places the whole event within prayer. The Lord Jesus takes his closest apostles, Peter, James, and John to the mountaintop to pray. While their Lord and Master was praying his whole appearance changed, and they saw who he really was and who they were to become. Although we would long to linger in the radiance of this mystery and we can to a certain extent every time we participate in the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; we must go forth transfigured and transformed. As Saint Augustine reminds us, we become what we eat in this Holy Eucharist; so that like the apostles, we may have the courage to enter into the exodus of the cross and resurrection. When we obey the voice of our Lord and Master Christ we pick up our cross daily and follow him through the pain of our exile into the glory of His Kingdom.