Tomorrow we celebrate the great feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord on Mount Tabor. In this glorious event, we see the veil of Christ’s Humanity briefly lifted and His Divinity shine forth before the astounded eyes of his disciples.
This event was meant to strengthen the disciples in anticipation of the events of the Passion, which would test their faith as never before. We see an instant connection between the Transfiguration and the Passion when we observe that only Christ’s closest disciples—Peter, James, and John—are witnesses. Not long after, on a different mount, the Mount of Olives, these three would become witnesses of Christ’s Agony, at which time His divinity would be hidden in the darkness of the Passion.
Interestingly, the two events are also connected by apostolic sleepiness: in both instances Peter, James, and John are overtaken by sleep at the critical moment. They manage to stay awake for the Transfiguration, but it seems that the devil was highly invested in none of them observing either Christ’s glory or His suffering.
In his brilliant work Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict XVI delves deeply into the integral unity of the Transfiguration with the Passion. He notes that the subject of Christ’s conversation with Moses and Elijah on Mount Tabor is the Passion (Luke’s account calls it His “departure,” or, you might say, exodus). Moses led the people of Israel to freedom through the Red Sea, a clear image of the new Moses bringing His people to freedom through the Red Sea of His Passion.
The lesson, says Pope Benedict, that Our Lord is teaching the disciples is that the glory of God is only reached through the Passion. The Cross is His chosen way to redeem us and bring us into His divine life; and we must be willing to walk with Him if we are to see His glory.
Get to know the Son of God by delving into the events of His earthly life. Pope Benedict’s Jesus of Nazareth is your guide to understanding the principal episodes covered in the Gospels, from the Baptism to the Transfiguration. Your knowledge of Christ and love for Him will grow as Pope Benedict uncovers the vast and often hidden mysteries of His life. Order yours today!