“While Peter was speaking, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and the disciples grew fearful as the others entered it. Then from the cloud came a voice which said, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen one. Listen to him.’” (Luke 9:34-35)
Transfigurations can be frightening for those who are witnessing the transformation. In our gospel passage today Peter doesn’t seem to know how to absorb the revelation before him. He feels the need to take action, to bring this whole experience down to earth. He needs to do something practical because he doesn’t know how to handle this mystical moment. But even while Peter is beginning to formulate a constructive activity those who are transfigured are moving on to a realm that is beyond human reach, a place where worldly practicality is overshadowed by heavenly poetry. And the foolish words of Peter are drowned out by the profound declaration of God.
The world is still frightened by those who have been transfigured. Timid Oscar Romero became an outspoken advocate for the poor and people were astounded. As archbishop he saw the plight of the invisible in his society and he found courage to speak out against those oppressors. He became someone to fear because he was spreading a dangerous message of freedom. He became the voice of Jesus and like Jesus he paid the ultimate price.
Throughout the ages we have had people who were transfigured. They then motivated ordinary individuals to become extraordinary beacons of light in the world. Even our Maria De Mattias moved from being a vain young woman whose main concern seemed to be her physical appearance to a woman who was constantly being urged forward by her mission of mercy. The woman who ventured through the hill country of Italy in order to spread the word of God would probably have been unrecognizable to those who knew her as a girl. In the Blood of Christ she was transformed and God invited those around to listen to her.
Transfiguration is not just a thing of the past. Today people among us are being remade in the image of Christ. They may frighten us because their words and actions are challenging us to leave our comfortable lives for the radical lives of prophets. They may be found in our work place or our homes or they might even be found facing us in the mirror. We are all called to be the Chosen Ones of God. We are all offered transforming revelations from God. And we have words and actions to which others need to listen. Let us not try to put up tents. Let us enter the cloud.
Sr. Janis Yaekel, ASC.