Gospel Meditation

“When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid.” Peter, James, and John already knew Jesus. They had been following him, learning from him, watching him for quite some time. But what took place before their eyes at the Transfiguration was unlike anything they had yet witnessed. This was not just a miracle or a message: this was a supernatural vision. When Jesus’ face suddenly “shone like the sun” and two ancient prophets appeared and spoke, and a heavenly voice announced the true identity of their friend and teacher, these three disciples nearly fainted in fear. It must have been too glorious, too strange, too astonishing to handle.

But Jesus “came and touched them” to rouse them from their prostration. He told them, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” What a beautiful moment. The Lord realized that his friends were overwhelmed. He had compassion on their meager ability to comprehend what was really going on. He allowed them to participate in this moment of revelation to help them understand who he was, but he still understood who they were—imperfect human beings who could not be expected to completely understand the ways of God.

Sometimes we might long to witness a kind of Transfiguration moment. It can be tempting to think that if we had access to such a supernatural revelation, our faith would be strengthened and our lives would change. But Jesus knows us best. He knows what we can handle and he knows the perfect way to reveal himself. For most of us, most of the time, this means coming to know Jesus in the more ordinary ways of prayer, Scripture study, and the sacraments. Let’s be sure we are ready to find Jesus there.
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