A Daily Gospel Reflection
by Deacon Kurt Heinrich
Thursday, August 6, 2020
The Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord
Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John,
and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them;
his face shone like the sun
and his clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them,
conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, behold,
a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,
then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him.”
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate
and were very much afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying,
“Rise, and do not be afraid.”
And when the disciples raised their eyes,
they saw no one else but Jesus alone.
As they were coming down from the mountain,
Jesus charged them,
“Do not tell the vision to anyone
until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
Dear Friends and Family,
Our language and culture often speak of mountaintop experiences. Living in the Midwest, the imagery falls flat because we do not have mountaintops. However, I have lived in other parts of the country and, for a time, I lived in New Hampshire. There are a number of popular hiking trails which lead to the top of Mt. Monadnock. One day, a couple friends and I decided to hike to the top of the mountain. We met a couple of people on the trail on our way up, but for the most part it was just the three of us. The climb took about two hours and quite a bit of effort on certain parts of the trail. Once we arrived at the top, two things amazed me. The first was the view. It was a clear day and we could see for miles every direction: lakes, roads, forests and birds that flew in valleys below. It was awe-inspiring. The second thing that surprised me were the number of people on the top of the mountain. Remember that we only met about five people on the trail, but there were about a hundred people hanging out on the top of the mountain. I was told this was common on a nice day. As human beings, we seek that which inspires. We journey to impressive land marks, we build our cities beside oceans, and we travel. We do these things to satisfy a longing in our hearts to experience the awesome.
Peter, James and John have been to the mountaintop before. The region they live in is filled with mountains and their adventures and journeys have taken them to the tops before. This time, the journey was different. This time, they traveled with Jesus and experienced two types of wonder. One was the majesty of the mountaintop experience itself and the second was the majesty of God incarnate in all his glory. This is the intersection of heaven and earth in the person of Jesus Christ. The three do not know what to do or say. They want to memorialize the experience, but Jesus says not to until he is raised from the dead. So what is the point? Jesus gives them a glimpse of what is to come for us all. Just like every mountaintop experience, it’s going to take time and effort on our part to reach the summit. Have you had a mountaintop experience in your own life, either on a physical or symbolic mountain? We all need to experience our own mountaintop as they help us to cope with the everyday challenges of life in the valley below.