Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
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.
As part of my Jesuit training, I worked in Nepal with the Missionaries of Charity in a home for the dying. While there, our Jesuit superior led a trek into the mountains near Everest. He promised us breath-taking views of Kathmandu. I did lose my breath from altitude sickness but saw nothing, because as we climbed bright clouds engulfed us. I went to bed grumbling, only to awaken to the most magnificent view I’ve ever experienced!
Like Peter, I asked if we could linger in the moment. But too soon it was back into the mist. Yet we’d seen the beauty that draws travelers from around the world. For a few moments the luminous nature of Jesus was unveiled. And then it was hidden in the mist. Yet for one brief, shining moment the apostles saw and knew Him as God’s beloved. Through memory and imagination, grace guides us on this “Mist-ical Journey” to remember who we are.
Lord Jesus, your face shone like the sun. Help us to hold on to this luminous image of love and hope. Our world can become so darkened, our hearts so heavily burdened with the worries and fears we carry.
Lord Jesus, Call us by name. Take us up with you on your holy mountain. Teach us in the terror and fear of our times to keep our eyes fixed on you. Amen.
—J. Michael Sparough, SJ