Transfiguration of the Lord Feast Lk 9,28-36
The transfiguration of the Lord is one of the most critical events in the life of Jesus Christ here on earth. St. Matthew writes: Six days later (six days after Peter’s confession that Jesus was the Messiah and after the first prediction of the Passion), Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother John and led them up a high mountain into solitude. There he was transfigured before them: his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And Moses and Elijah appeared to them, and they talked with him. Then Peter said to Jesus: “Lord, we are well here. If you are willing, I will make three tabernacles here: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were very afraid. But Jesus came to them and touched them and said to them: “Arise, and do not be afraid.” And when they lifted their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus. As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them: “Tell no one about this vision until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.” (Mt 17:1-8)
Where this event happened, we do not know. Tradition says it was on Mount Tabor, which rises right in the heart of Galilee in the middle of the lowland countryside. It happened in the second year of the Lord’s ministry (c. 29) between the Jewish feasts of the Passover (or Pentecost) and the Feast of Tabernacles (cf. Jn. 5-7). Mount Tabor was very suitable for undisturbed meditation to connect with God. Just as Daniel was once overwhelmed by the appearance of God’s glory (Dan. 10:6), so the apostles were in the rapture, Peter expressed his desire to remain in such treasure as he unknowingly speaks: “Let us set up three tabernacles here.” Along with Jesus, two of the most significant figures of the Old Testament, Moses and Elijah, appeared at his transfiguration. They symbolize the whole of God’s revelation in the Old Testament, which is now fulfilled and culminates in Jesus himself. God the Father Himself confirms these things with a voice from heaven: ‘This is my beloved Son…’ Then the three apostles fall to the ground, full of fear and awe, before God. But Jesus says: “Do not be afraid!” He forbids them to speak of this vision until after His resurrection. The three apostles thus became witnesses of his glory that awaited him after the work of redemption. But he did not want to outrage his enemies even more in advance, nor did he want the three apostles to exalt themselves above the others. Only after the resurrection could they tell others about these events.
The Feast of the Transfiguration was celebrated various times, with Pope Calixtus III ordering it to be celebrated on August 6, 1456. The Mohammedan Turks were destroying Christian lands, and the Pope wanted to use this feast to lift the people’s hearts to God and ask for help. For all, it is a reminder of the glory of Jesus Christ and an encouragement to look forward to the heavenly glory He has prepared for us in heaven. In addition to August 6, the liturgy commemorates the Transfiguration of the Lord on the Second Sunday of Lent, when the Gospel of the Transfiguration is read.
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