About a year ago I went to a hotel that sat on Mobile Bay and had a nice view of the bay. Our rooms were considered bay view which meant our rooms overlooked the bay. I remember one day there was some summer pop up storms that were going across the lake, and they were powerful. No tornadoes just server thunderstorms something we are used to here in South Louisiana. Sitting on the lake you could see the storms from a distance, what was especially exciting was seeing the lightning from a distance.
I know for me I will go out of my way to see some of these events that I will go out of my way to see. I wouldn’t go as far as the storm chasers, but I must admit it is pretty cool to see storms from a distance. It’s not something we have many opportunities to see, but it is powerful when we see it.
Peter James and John are given a glimpse of the glory that is to come for them. The Glory of the Lord actually shines before them through the face of Jesus. He is transformed before the eyes of Peter James and John, and he is seen with dazzling white clothing and conversing with Moses and Elijah.
Peter, responds in a very natural way, he wants to stay with the event in a way for a while as he suggests let me build three tents. However, Luke includes an interesting phrase. “he didn’t know what he was asking.” Peter didn’t fully understand what was going on in front of him and to build three tents may not have been the best response.
In our own lives, we can desire to see events like this, miraculous sights that very few if no-one has seen before. Peter James and John were given a glimpse of what it will be like for all of us when we are taken from here on earth into our eternal dwelling place in heaven. We can easily think, what they were given we could never have the same chance to see that here on earth. While we won’t see Jesus transfigured before us, we do have many opportunities to come into real contact with God in our lives and to experience the Glory of God present in our midst’s.
You may have heard some of the miracles that have happened in our world and in our faith. There are the miraculous appearances of the blessed virgin Mary. I know Fr. Paul has spoken about Medjugorje. However, our lady to has appeared to other people and at other places. We should not get that opportunity to see an apparition of Mary or some of the other miraculous occurrences around them.
Another amazing part of the Transfiguration is that they actually got to hear the voice of the Father saying, “this is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” In the New Testament, we only hear from the Father twice. While we won’t hear a booming voice from the sky, we do hear God’s voice speaking to us on a daily basis. Every time we come to Mass and hear God’s word read even when it comes out of an unworthy voice like mine, we are actually hearing God, using a human voice, to speak to us. When you open up the scripture at home, while you may be reading it silently, God is still speaking to you through the scripture.
We though are given an opportunity to encounter Jesus in a deeper way than even the transfiguration on the mountain. In a few moments, we will encounter God through the Eucharist. We won’t see any physical changes in front of our eyes, but however, two things happen that are beyond our senses. First God himself works through the priest as he says the prayers of the Mass, and secondly, God himself will be fully present both in the Wine and in the Bread than we are given the opportunity to receive Jesus into our own bodies and our own souls.
We are given many opportunities to come and encounter Jesus in even a deeper way than the Apostles encountered Jesus on the Mountain. We may not see his glowing face, we may not hear the Father’s voice from Heaven but we can hear his voice in the scriptures, and we can receive Jesus into our very bodies by receiving him in the Eucharist.
The event’s like I saw in Mobile were rare, and people will go out of their way to see them. It can sometimes feel that in our spiritual lives encountering the Lord can be the same way, that only a select few, or Peter James and John are able to see the Lord in his full Glory. We won’t see our Lord like that till we see God face to face in Heaven. However, we are still given a chance to encounter God every day through the scriptures and even a deeper way through the Eucharist. May we not forget that God has revealed himself to us through his Son and we can encounter him daily.