In today’s Gospel (Matthew 17:1-9) we hear about Jesus’ Transfiguration on the mountain. His face shines like the sun, his clothes become white and two dead people appear – Moses and Elijah and they begin talking with Jesus.
When we first hear all this, it sounds like a magic show, something David Copperfield would do. But it is much more than this. It is really the story of our lives.
Each one of us have had a transfiguration – a sudden vision, a great glory – Your wedding day! Your first car! Your first job! Your first paycheck! Your first home! Your first child! Try to remember all those visions you had. It was truly glorious! You too were transfigured….
Then along comes Peter and he sees this marvelous vision and he says what we say: “Let’s put up three tents, one for you Jesus, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” We use different words, but we say, “This is wonderful. Let’s hold on to it forever. Let’s freeze the moment. Let’s take another picture.” We have these stories or movies that end with, “They lived happily ever after.”
But then realism comes along and says, “This is impossible! You’ve got to clean the gutters of your dream house, diapers have to be changed and children do throw up.”
Peter represents foolishness, doesn’t he? Escapism! And then come the two spoilsports – Moses and Elijah. They start whispering to Jesus about going up to Jerusalem where he will suffer and die. They mess up the whole picture. There is Jesus in all of his magnificent glory and they talk about suffering and death.
What we are hearing here is not only the story of Jesus’ journey through life, but your journey and mine as well. Five things happen to us all after the Transfiguration –
The 1st Stage of the Journey is the Revision of the Dream. Your feelings toward your spouse on your wedding day and ten years later are not the same. They may be better. They may be worse. But they are not the same. There are money worries, pressures at work, even sickness and death. We can’t freeze the moment. Moses and Elijah are correct, after all. You have to change and revise the dream.
The 2nd Stage of the Journey is the Temptation to Escape Stage. This leads to cynicism. This is why we have all those husband and wife jokes. Somehow the dream didn’t hold up. The job got boring. The house got too small. The friendship soured or was betrayed. The children disappointed us.
The 3rd Stage of the Journey happens when The Tide Begins to Turn. You begin to share another’s burdens. You realize that life isn’t as ideal as the old TV shows portrayed. You have to work at it! You begin to reflect….You begin to pray. There are losses and job changes and sicknesses and addictions to struggle with. You begin to accept others as you begin to accept yourself. A God Alert
At the 4th Stage of the Journey you begin to Accept Life, not in defeat, but in love – a big difference! This is how Jesus accepted people – Mary Magdalene, Matthew the tax collector and his 12 Apostles. Your vision begins to see other people as Jesus saw them. A God Notice
The 5th Stage of the Journey happens when you Get the Ideal Back. You get the Transfiguration you started with, but it is now Transformed. There is not the razzle dazzle of white robes and shining faces and voices from the clouds. You are now a whole person. You are Transformed. You understand what Moses and Elijah were talking about.
The Transfiguration is not a magic show. It is a profound statement about life – a life where you have to go through a desert, where you are not alone. We have a faith community to help us and to lift us up when we fall. We have Jesus who is with us and who is in our hearts.
One day there was an auction in London.The auctioneer brought out a worn-out old violin which he said was a genuine Cremona, made by Stradivarius. He announced how valuable it was, but very little was bid on it.
Then a man walked up from the crowd, tuned it and began to play. As the bow touched the strings, the most beautiful music filled the room. The great Paganini was playing the worn-out old violin. The violin sold for a huge amount.
Has the music gone out of your life? Are you at all dissatisfied with your life? Let Jesus touch the strings of your heart! Hear his words. Do not be afraid! Only Jesus can bring forth the beautiful melody that beats in your heart!
Please spend some quality time today and this week of Lent going over the Five Stages of Transfigurations and Transformations in your life. It is well-worth your time and effort.