Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.
As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead could mean.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
The scene presented to us in this account of the Transfiguration is bewildering. Keeping this in mind, it’s not surprising that Peter blurts out the first thing that comes into his head. As St. Mark writes: “He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.”
How many times have we tried to cover our confusion or shock with words? How many times have we sought to codify and clarify something that is at once mysterious and overwhelming? Peter’s reaction to that intense experience of revelation and God’s response can serve as a model for us this Lent.
After Peter’s vocal reaction, a cloud comes over them and they hear a voice. “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” How will we practice listening this Lenten season? When we encounter the mystery and intensity of God’s love and mercy, can we sit just a bit longer? Can we hold onto the silence and listen instead of talking? In our active world with push notifications and a digital deluge of news and information, the habit of guarding some time each and every day for silence is more important than ever.
—Fr. Eric Sundrup, S.J., a Jesuit of the Chicago-Detroit Province, serves in campus ministry for the University of Michigan at St. Mary Student Parish, Ann Arbor, MI.
Father of light, in you is found no shadow of change, but only the fullness of life and limitless truth. Open our hearts to the voice of your Word and free us from the original darkness that shadows our vision. Restore our sight that we may look upon your Son who calls us to repentance and a change of heart.
—from the Roman Missal, © 1985, Catholic Book Publishing, Inc.