The Human Thread

August 08, 2016

Author: editor

Category: Pray

Musings on The Feast of the Transfiguration


Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up a 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 and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep,
but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.

As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But he did not know what he was saying.

While he was still speaking, a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”

After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. They fell silent and did not at that time
tell anyone what they had seen.

Gospel (Luke 9:28B-36)


What changed?

On the mountain, was Jesus changed? Perhaps not. The Letter to the Hebrews tells us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). So, if Jesus did not change, what changed then? Might we suggest that the eyes of the apostles were changed, were opened? Was it for one brief moment that the apostles could truly see Jesus? Let’s suggest that, during this encounter on the mountain, the apostles could see Jesus as God sees Jesus.

Remember Bartimeus, or the blind beggar on the way to Jericho, or the man born blind: they could see Jesus, while others are blind to who Jesus is. Jesus often calls the Pharisees blind. “They have eyes but they cannot see. They have ears but they cannot hear.” Jesus could heal, but it was much more difficult to open eyes to truly see. The Gospel praises the virtue of awareness and sight, and condemns those oblivious to what’s around them.

The poor are almost always invisible. Our lives are daily touched by so many who are invisible to us: those who mine the rare metals in a cell phone, those who pick the lettuce in our lunch, and those who make our clothes.

How would the world look to us if we could see through God’s eyes?

We can begin to look at the world with God’s eyes, not our eyes. Think of St. Paul’s conversion: he was blinded by it, but he was not blind. How would others look to us if we could see them with God’s eyes? How would the poor, the different, look to us with God’s eyes? How would the Bangladeshi garment worker look to me if I could see her through God’s eyes? How would I look to myself with God’s eyes?


I suggest that we would see with greater compassion, with greater mercy, and we would treasure others. To see is to reverence. It’s an old word. When we see with God’s eyes, we can love with God’s love. Our prayer should be: “Lord, today, I want to be able to see better.”