The Nazareth Page - A gospel thought for the home
August 6, 2017 – Transfiguration of the Lord -- Matt. 17:1-9
By Dr. David M. Thomas
From time to time, CFM's blog will share Gospel reflections by veteran family life minister, David Thomas
What do you see when you look up into a clear night sky? Maybe the moon, if it’s “out” that night. Maybe a smattering of stars. If you have learned a little about constellations, you might be able to recognize the Big Dipper or Orion the Hunter. During these summer months, if you live far enough away from the city lights, you can see right overhead the Milky Way (the center of our galaxy) spreading across the sky with its thousands upon thousands of stars. Or, as sometimes is the case, you might not notice any of this!
In so many ways, the act of seeing is far from simple. And appreciating what we might see is even more complex. Think of the members of your family. How deeply do you see them, appreciate them, even know them? The same can be said about friends and neighbors. Relationships of any kind can be like the icebergs that we are reading about as our planet warms. What floats above the surface of the ocean is only one-tenth of its true size and magnitude. Most is hidden unless you really look at it. And once you do, you will see more. Might this also apply to how we see others in our lives? Or even ourselves?
Today, we again are presented with that amazing moment when three of the closest disciples of Jesus saw him in a new way. It’s called the transfiguration, meaning that the one that they were accustomed to seeing one way suddenly appeared in a new way. He changed before their very eyes.
But was he a different person than the one with whom they climbed that mountain? Surely not. So, did Jesus really change? In a sense, he didn’t. But how they saw him did change. They saw him as one who related to their religious history. They saw him as one loved by God. And seeing him in those ways changed what they saw.
The transfiguration, I believe, is not a totally exceptional experience for the disciples. The point that is quite clearly made in the story is that having seen Jesus in a transformed state, he then returned to looking as he had before. But what did the disciples then see in him? That he was someone quite remarkable, one very close to God.
Now, look in the mirror. Who do you see? Do you see someone deeply loved by God? Do you see someone that God thinks about and cares for day after day? Do you see someone who has an important role to play in God’s hope and dream in human history? If you answer “no,” then look again.
David Thomas, PhD