It started out as an ordinary day for Peter, James and John. They were just going for a walk with Jesus, and Jesus invited them to follow him to the top of a high mountain. They followed Jesus up the mountain. Suddenly, to their shock, Jesus is transfigured before them. His clothes become dazzling white, and Jesus is there with Elijah and Moses. The Apostles had only heard about Moses and Elijah, because Moses and Elijah died a long time before the Apostles. Elijah and Moses were talking to one another. A sign to us of life after death. Peter immediately responds, “ It is good, Lord, that we are here.” I hope things never change. Then there was a voice saying, “ This is my beloved Son, listen to him.” This is the way that a father speaks to his son calling him “beloved.” It is the way we should speak to one another- with love and respect. God was also talking to Peter, James, and John telling them to listen to Jesus.
Why did this transfiguration happen? What was the purpose of this experience on the mountaintop? It was most important, because, if Peter, James, and John, were to die for Jesus, they had to know that Jesus is God. If they were to change from being fishermen to being disciples, they had to know that it was worth it, and that Jesus would speak to all people for the rest of time.
In this Transfiguration, God the Father was preparing Jesus for the cross. Calling him “beloved” was affirming him, telling him to get ready for your suffering. God always guides us along our way to make sure that we are prepared.
Yes, the Apostles were terrified, but it was for their good. They needed to be prepared for their discipleship. Sometimes, it is terrifying when we do something new. We are afraid to volunteer, to be a more active part of the church, and it can be terrifying. Any time we are asked to go beyond our comfort level, we are afraid. Peter, James, and John were shocked. Peter and John did not know what “rising from the dead" meant, but when the resurrection occurred, they were the first to run to the tomb. The experience of the Transfiguration prepared them for the resurrection, and their ministry.
This week Billy Graham, who was known as the great evangelist, died. In stadiums throughout the world, Billy Graham consistently said, “Come to Jesus.” Come on down and give your life to Jesus. If you are burdened, you need Jesus. If you are questioning life, it is time to come to Jesus.
The Catholic Church has the greatest altar call in the world. It is called communion, the Eucharist. When we come forward, and we say, “Amen” we are giving our lives to Jesus. We are accepting our call to be disciples of Jesus. It can be terrifying, but it is life changing. It means that we are willing to experience Jesus; we are willing to receive Jesus into our hearts so that our lives will change. If we find that we are struggling in life, then we need the encouragement of Jesus, and this is the day, this is the time, this is the mass to come to Jesus.
Christianity is not just about reading about Jesus. It is not just hearing about Jesus. It is not even just talking about Jesus. Christianity is experiencing Jesus, and letting Jesus come into our hearts, to make a real change, and to be willing to allow God to take us up the mountain, and hear God say, “This is my beloved Son, Listen to Him.”