The Transfiguration is something of a newer concept to me. It’s something of a newer addition to the Rosary as well, so I don’t feel so out of it, so all alone on this one. What happens basically is that Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up on the mountain. While there Jesus is transfigured, his face and clothes shine bright, and with him, also shining, are Moses and Elijah. God’s voice is heard, saying, “This is my beloved Son.” After everything calms down, Jesus tells the guys to keep quiet about it.
According to the notes on the passages themselves at the USCCB NAB, the incident does a couple of things. They say:
The account of the transfiguration confirms that Jesus is the Son of God and points to fulfillment of the prediction that he will come in his Father’s glory at the end of the age. It has been explained by some as a resurrection appearance retrojected into the time of Jesus’ ministry, but that is not probable since the account lacks many of the usual elements of the resurrection-appearance narratives. It draws upon motifs from the Old Testament and noncanonical Jewish apocalyptic literature that express the presence of the heavenly and the divine, e.g., brilliant light, white garments, and the overshadowing cloud.
On that note, those Old Testament motifs, our first reading is from Daniel.
As I watched:
Thrones were set up
and the Ancient One took his throne.
His clothing was bright as snow,
and the hair on his head as white as wool;
his throne was flames of fire,
with wheels of burning fire.
A surging stream of fire
flowed out from where he sat;
There’s them motifs. And then I especially like the repetition of fire, first the flames of fire, then the wheels of burning fire, then the surging stream of fire. And then sort of along those same lines, Psalm 97 for the Responsorial Psalm has the line, The mountains melt like wax before the Lord.
The Gospel is the description from St. Mark, about the same as in the other Synoptic Gospels. St. Mark however has God’s voice saying This is my beloved Son. Listen to him. same as St. Luke, whereas St. Matthew has it This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him. I like the addition of the with whom I am well pleased, as that echoes the Baptism of the Lord, another Luminous Mystery.
We have a guest priest, whose name I don’t catch, who celebrates Mass and gives the homily. He points out how once again Peter screws up, this time deciding to build tents for Jesus and Moses and Elijah. As St. Mark puts it, He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. But, not to be so hard on St. Peter, I do like the second reading, the Epistle, from St. Peter himself today, rather than St. Paul. It’s his description, from 2 Peter 1:16-19, of these very events, where he tells us, We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain.