FROM the cool and heady heights of Mt. Tabor pilgrims can see the valley below. Near the present Monastery of Transfiguration is the site where Jesus took three of his disciples, namely Peter, John and James.
The disciples saw the awesome apparition of three great figures: Moses (the great lawgiver), Elijah (the great O.T. prophet) and Jesus himself whose form was transfigured (in Greek metamorphete) before the very eyes of the three privileged disciples.
To remove any doubts as to who Jesus really is in comparison to Moses and Elijah, the voice of the Heavenly Father clearly declared, “this is MY BELOVED SON; listen to him.”
The Father’s statement, together with the presence of the Spirit of the Lord hovering from above, shows that although no one should doubt the greatness of Moses and Elijah, the two, however, can never be equal to Jesus who is the Son of God. This event proved to be a small Epiphany or revelation of the Trinity.
Interestingly, Peter pleaded with Jesus that he be allowed to set up in that place three booths for the Lord and the two other great figures in the Old Testament. Peter yearned to linger there in order to savor the glory and the ecstasy of the event. But that wish was not granted, for the Lord brought the three disciples down from the rarefied air of the mountain and its enchanting setting in order to face, and never escape from or evade, life’s harsh reality with all its problems.
Jesus had to confront the horror of the forthcoming passion and death awaiting him in Jerusalem. The three, together with the rest of the band of disciples, had to witness the depths of sorrow and shame which stood in glaring contrast the to the glory of the transfiguration.
Retreats, recollections, attendance at the Eucharist or even a quiet afternoon in places like the beautiful Benedictine Monastery of the Transfiguration in Malaybalay, Bukidnon never fail to inspire people and let them have a taste of heaven. Such joyful moments, however, are gifts from God to give us courage to face the commonplace and at times daunting tasks in life. Those little tastes of heaven can also steel us in bearing our cross no matter how heavy it is. Finally, the foretaste of the glory and joy that is to come will clothe the common little things with radiance only God in whom we believe can give.
“About eight days after he said this, he took Peter, John and James up the mountain to pray. While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah who appeared in glory….Then from the cloud came a voice came a voice that said, ‘This is my beloved Son; listen to him.’” Luke 9:28-30, 35.