Ps.33:4-5, 18-19, 20-22,
In the first reading, God made a promise to Abraham that he would make his name great so that he would be a blessing not only to his family but to all the families of the earth as well! The condition for the fulfillment of this promise was simple and straightforward – "Go to the land that I will show you". Abraham not only believed in God's word, he obeyed and did as the Lord commanded him. In today's Gospel, in the company of Peter, James and his brother John, Jesus is transfigured on a high mountain. He is seen together with Moses and Elijah. The Mount of Transfiguration was for Jesus a spiritual mountain peak. His exodus lay before him. Was he taking the right way? Was he right to adventure out to Jerusalem and the waiting arms of the Cross?
First, there came to him the verdict of history, the greatest of the law-givers and the greatest of the prophets, to tell him to go on. Moses was the greatest of all the law-givers; he was supremely and uniquely the man who brought God's law to men. Elijah was the greatest of all the prophets; in him the voice of God spoke to men with unique directness. It is as if the greatest figures in Israel's history came to Jesus, as he was setting out on the last and greatest adventure into the unknown, encouraging him to go on. But there was more than that; not only did the greatest law-giver and the greatest prophet assure Jesus that he was right; the very voice of God came telling him that he was on the right way. It was the experience on the Mount of Transfiguration which enabled Jesus to walk the way to the Cross.
But the episode of the Transfiguration did something not only for Jesus but also for his disciples. The minds of the disciples must have been still hurt and bewildered by the insistence of Jesus that he must go to Jerusalem to suffer and to die. Here surely was something which would lift up the hearts of the disciples and enable them to see the glory through the shame; the triumph through the humiliation; the crown beyond the Cross. It is obvious that even yet they did not understand; but it must surely have given them some little glimmering hope that the Cross was not all humiliation, and that somehow it was tinged with glory, that somehow glory was the very atmosphere of the exodus to Jerusalem and to death.
It is quite clear that Peter wished to wait upon the mountain slopes. He wished that great moment to be prolonged. He did not want to go down to the everyday and common things again but to remain forever in the sheen of glory. Just like Peter there are moments of intimacy, of serenity, of peace, of nearness to God, which everyone has known and wished to prolong. As A. H. McNeile has it: "The Mountain of Transfiguration is always more enjoyable than the daily ministry or the way of the Cross." But the Mountain of Transfiguration is given to us only to provide strength for the daily ministry and to enable us to walk the way of the Cross.
How do our “Mountain Experiences” - moments of intimacy, of serenity, of peace, of nearness to God help and strengthen us to walk the way of the Cross?