Lent Day 13 – What the Transfiguration Means

by Bishop Robert Barron


At the Transfiguration, Moses represented the law and Elijah represented the prophets. But why were Peter, James, and John present? And what does this event mean to us today?

St. Thomas Aquinas devotes an entire section in his Summa theologiae to the Transfiguration. His treatment offers some answers.

Aquinas says that it was fitting that Christ be manifested in his glory because those who are walking an arduous path need a clear sense of the goal of their journey. The arduous path is this life, with all of its attendant sufferings, failures, setbacks, disappointments, and injustices. And its goal is heavenly glory, which is fullness of life with God, the transformation of our bodies.

As Jesus makes his way toward the cross, he accordingly allows, for a brief time, his glory to shine through, the radiance of his divinity to appear. This event is meant to awaken our sense of wonder and affirm that we are not meant finally for this world.

Next, Aquinas asks about the “light” or the “glory” that envelops Christ during the Transfiguration, noting that it “shines.” Why have people, trans-historically and trans-culturally, associated holiness with light? Well, light is that by which we see, that which illumines and clarifies. But light is also beautiful, and beautiful things shine. Aquinas says that Jesus, at the Transfiguration, began to shine with the radiance of heaven so as to entrance us with the prospect of our own transfiguration.

Finally, Aquinas talks about the “witnesses” to the Transfiguration, namely Peter, James, John, Moses, and Elijah. Moses stands for the Law, and Jesus recapitulates, perfects, and illumines the Mosaic law: “I have come not to abolish the law but to fulfill it.” Christ is the new Moses, the new Lawgiver.

Similarly, Elijah stands for the prophets; he was the greatest of the prophets. The prophets spoke the words of God. And since Jesus is the Word of God, the prophetic books are read in his light.

So why is Peter there? Because, says Aquinas, he loved the Lord the most. Why is John there? Because the Lord loved him the most. Why is James there? Because he was the first of the Apostles to die for his faith. Who gets access to the glory of Jesus? Those who are tied to him through love.

   

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  • ber

    It’s interesting bishop you should say peter ect were at the transfigurement because they were loved by God yet we are also told God has no favourites ?? Is Jesus not transfigured in the Eucharist at mass from a price of bread to his devine body body if we look trough the eyes of faith on a different subject could the chosen souls also be from the line of David who are the prophets of our time is it not their job to testify to the existence of God there is moments in our life when Jesus becomes transfigured for us he makes himself known to us he shows us he exists that for me is our transfigured moment to be in the presence of God and recognise it does our heart not burn would we not also hold on to that moment and want to make our tent and stay with that moment ?? But alas we also have to come back to earth ???

    • rtclovesmac

      Good Morning ber.
      Just something to ponder.
      God has always had favorites…He chose Adam’s offering over Cain’s. He chose Abraham’s people from all others to be “their” God.
      Christ prefers a contrite heart to mortifications.
      Likewise we chose those we marry over others.
      Mother’s love all their children, but are likely to love over one more for any variety of reasons.
      Children often prefer one parent over the other.
      Yet love guides it all.
      In the end, I believe God does love us all…but to say he has no favourites is a man-made precept.

      • ber

        You are so right I just realised it was always said to make sure people didn’t have an enflated idea about themselves I thought it must have being written somewhere in the bible that I missed thank you for you words

    • Debra Johnson

      Perhaps it is not “favoritism”. Maybe He loves us each in our own unique way. Didn’t he say that there were many rooms in the Father’s house? I’m reminded of what Christ to St. Faustina…that He had chosen her to be the Apostle of His Mercy before the world began. Perhaps it’s like that for every single one of us. We aren’t all called as physical witnesses to God’s glory, but we are each called to be witnesses in our own fashion according to His will.

      • Colin

        “Perhaps it is not “favoritism”. Maybe He loves us each in our own unique way”. Debra, you hit the nail on the head !!

      • ber

        Yes of course Debra he loves every one of us I think he gives according to the task in life where more is given more expected but iv heard it said there is different degree’s for people or saints (anyone in heaven) according to their state in life so is that having (favourites) I don’t know are we all capable of different degree’s of love ie nun married or single is it according to each ones ability and yet even that love is gods grace a lot to talk about to ponder but let’s enjoy the journey

        • Debra Johnson

          I believe that the Lord has taken our personalities into consideration, along with any special graces which He has given to us. You are correct: to whom much is given, much will be required. Again, I refer you to St. Faustina (my favorite!). Christ told her that she would be responsible for a great number of souls come judgment day. She felt herself to be a weak, miserable creature, incapable of what He was asking of her. However, God have given her many, many special graces to help her at the task and He emphasized that He rewards more for the purity of intention and not merely on actual accomplishments. HTH

          • ber

            Yes so right St fustina also among the great have to mention the little flower St Teresa also hi guys can I give u thumbs up the St Paul’s Center for Biblical study are doing a great set of video on our lady for lent well worth watching Scott hann just sign up

  • nimaju

    I do not understand that John was there because Jesus loved him most … How can that be?

    • Patrick Cassidy

      John was the only Apostle to not abandon Jesus during the Passion. He was with Mary when He was crucified. Jesus gave John the responsibility to care for His mother going forward.

      “Woman, behold you son. Son, behold your mother”

      A woman with no husband or son was certainly doomed to a life of begging at that time. Trusting John with that responsibility was huge.

      • nimaju

        These things are all true. It is also true that Jesus said he would abandon 99 to find 1, and that God loves each of us to the point that he knows the number of hairs on our heads. This seems inconsistent with a God/Jesus who had a favorite.

        • Geraldine (Gerry) Novotny

          Jesus is true God and true man. In his manhood he is just like us. Jesus probably didn’t like certain foods or certain people, etc., since he was truly human. He also got hungry, angry, lonely, etc. like us. Jesus’ favoring John is a great example of Jesus’ humanity. Nice to know our God understands us…

  • rtclovesmac

    Lord, please let Your Love and Light transform my being today.

  • ber

    I may be wrong but was it not John that went on to write the book of revelation he too had a task that would require much faith could this be the purpose God had in mind there’s so much we know but a lot we don’t but the holy spirit will reveale what he wants you to know just ask

    • rtclovesmac

      God always wants us to ask.
      Through prayer is how most of use commune with Him.
      And as Catholics we also have the Eucharist in which we unite with Him.
      But we need the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit, combined with Faith of a Mustard Seed to act on that which He shares with us.
      For what we are is God’s gift to us.
      What we become is our gift to God.

  • 1magnani

    Dear Father Barron:

    I’m perplexed. As a mother of two, how can you say Jesus loved John the most? I love both of my children and couldn’t ever say I love one more than the other.

    I look forward to hearing your explanation.

    Sincerely,
    magnani

    • jesspinosa

      I am sure Bishop Barron would have a better explanation, but mine is this. In a large family, the youngest becomes everybody’s pet, and John was the youngest of all the apostles. He seemed to have been the most affectionate (leaning on our Lord’s chest during the Last Supper), the most agile and enthusiastic (the first to reach the tomb on Easter Sunday), and the most faithful (the only apostle at the foot of the Cross). The Lord has no favorite, but He can love one just a little bit more than the others, and I think for good reasons.

      • Geraldine (Gerry) Novotny

        I can relate to Jesus’ treating John as his pet. John was probably the typical teenager. The others were older men so John may have been the apple of Jesus’ eye. John always managed to sit next to Jesus at table and probably on their treks ran ahead many times to ‘scout the area’ or just to
        throw some stones. Bathing in the sea/lake I see John playfully splashing Jesus. I believe John was pure joy to Jesus. Oh, to have been there with John when Jesus comes to take his mother to heaven! No wonder John’s gospel is poetry!

        • jesspinosa

          Yes, yes and yes. We must not forget that only John of all the apostles died a natural death – another gift?

          • concerned citizen

            Yes Jess, it was a gift to John, for not abandoning Him during His Crucifixion on the Cross.

    • concerned citizen

      1magnani, this just shows that God sort of upholds highly those who are still virgins. Our Blessed Mother is a virgin. St. Joseph was a virgin, Jesus is a virgin and St. John was the only virgin among the Apostles. The state of virginity seems to be upheld highly by God, I think, because it is indeed difficult to remain a virgin your whole life because it goes against the inclination or nature of man.

    • MariaG

      tmagnani,
      As a mother myself I love all my kids and I’ll do anything for them….however, each hold a different place in my heart. I feel it’s the case with John. I believe that the Church interprets that John was the disciple whom Jesus loved the most describing the ongoing love and loyalty John always showed to Him. At the Last supper it was John who sat next to Jesus and who rested his head on His breast. He was the only one of the Apostles present at the Crucifixion, and it was to him that Jesus intrusted the love and protection of His greatest treasure, His mother.

      • 1magnani

        Beautifully said. Here’s the however, it easy to love someone “the most” when they are so willing and able to give their love. Sometimes it’s the ones who don’t love as much who need “the most” love.

  • Patrick Cassidy

    Another great reading today. We are all tied to Christ through love, and His glory is revealed to us only when we begin to have personal encounters with Christ.

    Until we are willing to get personal with our Lord, the Bible is just a collection of stories and the church is just a building.

  • jesspinosa

    On the Feast of Transfiguration, I prayed for my loved ones who have drifted away from the Church or are not taking their faith seriously. My prayer was that they, too, would be transfigured and be open to God’s love. Sadly, my son is included in that prayer, who was raised Catholic, was an altar boy, but is now too busy to set aside even a brief moment to say hello to our Lord.

    • Elizabeth

      Welcome to the club of those who believe and their children at some point in time, find themselves living their faith but not practicing. Continual prayers by parents and others for these young men and women (and not so young) eventually find their children’s journey home, as a name of a program on EWTN. I have to have hope in my heart and not be despondent or despair as it says at the optional prayer of the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

      How we handle this disappointment, and how we demonstrate love, despite their going their own way, is not for us to understand. I do understand that God will make all things work to good for those who wait upon the Lord.

      • jesspinosa

        Thanks for the encouraging words. I have placed my son and all my loved ones in the hands of our Lord. You are right, all we can do is pray, then we leave the rest to God. The effects of our prayers may not happen during our lifetime, but they will happen, one way or the other, in His own time.

  • Nancy Rynders

    The image of light has always been appealing to me, and I like how Bishop Barron explains the meaning of the light of the Transfiguration. Each of the witnesses of this event had a reason to be there…..we all have different gifts, and purposes, but should use them to give glory to the Lord.

  • concerned citizen

    The Divinity of Jesus was hidden behind His veil of Humanity. In the same manner, Jesus, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity is hidden beneath the appearance of the Bread in the Blessed Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Yet how many Catholics believes He is really there. A survey in the States showed, if I remembered correctly, that less than 30% of the youth believed in the Real Presence.

    That explains why very few go to Confession and still receive Holy Communion. They do not truly realize who it is,they are receiving. And even for those who believe, the faith is still not that strong enough. Proof? The Adoration Chapel is almost empty most of the times and at times, only one or two are praying there. And yet if the Host transfigured and a single ray of light shone through and brightened the chapel, a million will be flocking there within a few days to witness the miracle. But why do we need a miracle, if we truly believe?

    • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

      CC,

      Great response! True and eye opening, but means little to those whose “light of Love for Jesus”, has dimmed and that is allot more than many realize !

      You are right on the money about the percentage of those Catholics who “do not” believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, often influence by non Catholics views and take on scripture. Also the short line at the confessional. Situation ethics is over taking truths of Catholic teaching.

      When I was young, having spent time in the seminary as a seminarian, I spent allot of time in the chapel. Years later I wrote a poem about the “Lonely Flickering Light”, known as the votive candle signifying Jesus Presence in the Tabernacle.

      It breaks my heart that this happening to our youth and their parents. Even more painful is those receiving Him, not believe but even worse, receiving Him in the state of sin. That sends chills up my spine.

      I have the Summaa Theologica. St. Thomas Aquinas was my main source of theology while in college.

      Peace and prayers,

      Michael
      The Prayer Warrior

      • Elizabeth

        Michael, Would love to read your poem “Lonely Flickering Light” Your writing is truly a gift from God.

        • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

          Hi Elizabeth,

          If I can find where I “filed it”, I will sent it to you!

          Peace and prayers,

          Michael

        • Mary

          Me too

      • concerned citizen

        Michael, I only learned last year that the Tantum Ergo which is sung at Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament comes from the last two stanzas Pange Lingua Gloriosi Corporis Mysterium, a Latin hymn written by Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) for the Feast of Corpus Christi.

        • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

          Hi CC,

          Didn’t know that. Thank you!

          Been awhile since I sang that. The Latin, in Gregorian chant.was better than the English version they use now. You know, that loss of word meanings when translated from Latin to English.
          I still love Gregorian chant though. Some of the antiphons we sing at Mass we use the Gregorian chant score. Not quite the same beauty as the latin!
          Ever wonder why the notes are square? They used a calagraphy, flat tip pen.

          Peace,

          Michael

          The Prayer Warriors

    • MariaG

      Beautifully stated!
      And I may add that if we truly believe that our Lord was present in the Tabernacle we would show more reverence when entering the Church. Often times it’s used as a place for socialization and some people dress like they’re going to the beach, etc. It’s very sad indeed….

    • ber

      Concerned the miracle is that we believe ???? Is it not

      • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

        Ber,

        The miracle is the transubstantiation, when the priest evokes the Holy Spirit to change the bread and wine, the gifts we offer, into the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.

        The graces of the Holy Spirit gives us the faith through which we believe!

        Peace,

        The Prayer Warrior

        • ber

          So true thank you for your reply

    • that florida lady

      I know Catholics believe Jesus is really there. :) There are many here who go at least once a month. In the south they do not take the Eucharist for granted because those non Catholic churches don’t believe. The chapels are empty because people work many long hours.

      • concerned citizen

        Its nice to know that there are many in your area who go at least once a month. I think that if everybody makes time for it, they can make a Holy Hour at least once a week especially during the weekend. And especially if they realize that our Lord is in the Tabernacle waiting for them 24/7 to visit Him. I also notice that whenever I take time to make a Holy Hour, I end up accomplishing more during the day. Through His guidance and strength, we end up doing more because we become more efficient and we become more enlightened. The best way to enhance your personal relationship with the Lord is a regular Holy Hour with Him.

        • that florida lady

          Just do it and don’t make a big deal of it. I don’t make the whole hour but duck in when I can. This is going to have to do for now God. You know the list I have behind me. :)

        • that florida lady

          I live in the Tampa Bay fla area. Where are you?

  • rtclovesmac

    Great perspective CC

  • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

    CC,

    Here is a you tube video with a Catholic narrator who left the Faith and came back. This is about real, scientific research allowed by the Catholic Church under great supervision on the Eucharist.

    Here is the link.
    http://www.thedivinemercy.org/news/A-Matter-of-Faith-a-Matter-of-Fact-5114

    Peace,

    Michael

    • Elizabeth

      I just finished listening to the podcast you supplied to us. It is truly an affirmation with scientific evidence and faith of what we believe. God Bless You MIchael.

  • Joseph T. Garcia

    Is the ‘Light ‘ or the ‘Glory’ ; ” I have come not to abolish the ‘Law’ , but to fulfill it ” ..

  • Bridget McKeon

    Wasn’t Stephen the first martyr? Where does it say that James was the first to die for his faith?

    • Dude_Abides

      Yes you are correct the RCC recognizes Stephen as its first martyr. The Bishop was referring to the first of the twelve Apostles to be martyred was James the brother of the Apostle John, son of Zebedee and Salome.
      He was executed by the sword (beheaded) in/ or around 44 AD by Herod the king (Herod Agrippa) for heresy. His martyrdom for his beliefs is the only one recorded in the New Testament of the 12 Apostles – thus he is considered the first.
      I have a question for anyone on this thread, as the stories of the Bible are sometimes wrapped in mystery; this telling of Jesus’ Transfiguration has always created a question in me of how did the three apostles Peter, John and James know that it was Moses and Elijah on each side of the transfigured Jesus?
      This was a time when there were no first hand photos of either one. There was no Bible or really for that matter these 3 came from humble backgrounds and were not educated in the early writing’s of the Jewish religion; which btw would not have a valid description of either Moses or Elijah.
      I have read that through the miraculous vision of Jesus Transfiguration came a miraculous knowledge – as the closest explanation of the 3 knowing who these figures were. If anyone has more knowledge on this I would appreciate your enlightenment.

      • kayeloney@cox.net

        Moses was their because he presented the new law (the new command’s) Moses is easy to visualize because of the nob’s on his head raise’s up, so he could hear God through this means of communication. Elijah was their to present the exit into Heaven (He was taken up to in Heaven in a fiery chariot) and reappears later as John the Baptist.
        Their is a reading on St. James called the Starry night, on the internet which will give you some insight. St. James is patreint Saint of Spain. Really good understanding of St. James after his Martyrdom, and what happened to his body. Read about St. Jame’s on the internet.

        • Dude_Abides

          Thank you Kaye for this reference I will look it up.
          I have researched the Transfiguration event thoroughly and understand its symbolic meanings. I have even asked a Bishop about this and his honest reply was “We simply don’t know.”
          I attribute it to a ‘divine illumination’ given simultaneously to the three by our Father above. As Matthew Chapter 17 recounts the Transfiguration, in the previous chapter (CH 16) there is an account of a conversation between Jesus and Simon (who Jesus would name Peter).
          “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesare′a Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” And they said, “’Some say John the Baptist, others say Eli′jah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’” He said to them, “’But who do you say that I am?’” Simon Peter replied, “’You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’” And Jesus answered him, “’Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.'” Matthew 16: 13-18

          • Gary

            That is the Gospel reading for today.

      • concerned citizen

        Dude, I would agree with your explanation.

        In my opinion, there were three things that happened that day and they happened for a purpose. First, was the Transfiguration of Jesus. Second, was the appearance of Elijah and Moses. And third, was the voice of God the Father say Jesus is His Beloved Son. Jesus brought the three to Mt. Tabor because they could not understand why He had to suffer and die. Hence the three things I mentioned.

        Jesus showed His Glory so that the three Apostles would have a slight foretaste of the Beatific Vision. Jesus brought Elijah and Moses into the picture to show to the three Apostles He was the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets which the Apostles could still not understand. Jesus brought them there so that God the Father could tell them to listen to Him. And what was Jesus saying: that He would have to suffer and die.

        Hence I would agree with your explanation. Jesus must have enlightened their minds so that they could recognize Elijah and Moses. Otherwise what was the purpose of bringing them there.

      • ber

        Could it be dude that Jesus in his transfigurement inlummened all around a moment of grace trough him the picture spoke its message

        • Dude_Abides

          Yes I think it is possible ber. I believe it was revealed to them in an unearthly manner and “not of flesh and blood” but, if you will the grace of God.

  • kayeloney@cox.net

    We had a scare at the Catholic Church I attend, Satanic people was going to March in front of Our Church, But we prayed them down they did not appear. Thanks be to Heavenly intervention. They always try to get the Eucharist in a false manner. If they know it to be the true Body and Blood of Christ. I can not see Why Catholic’s do not believe or for that matter anyone else. I do not think Catholic School could not be do a every good job of presenting the Faith to them. Than their is the parents they have the biggest roll to play how many do you know say the Rosary at home each night. I grew up with other children in the house and we all said the Rosary on our knee’s with our own earthly mother leading. This brought about many miracle’s in my life, Thanks be to God. I can see clearly the Love of God in the Catholic Church on earth as will I know the glory of the Church in Heaven. Please pray for all Soul’s Past, Present and Future. Give that Human Will back to Jesus ask Mother Mary for Jesus Divine Will in which to pray with in unity with Him. Place your I Love you everywhere for Jesus to see.

    • Elizabeth

      Thank you for the affirmation of prayer in the instance you stated above. It is not the prayers we say, but the prayers that come from the heart.When we say the Rosary without contemplating our Lord and Savior’s experience, they are just words. I thank God for those who do say meaningful Rosary prayers.

    • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

      Hi Kaye,

      Very good point about the satanists. Lucifer, the evil one, knows the truth of the Eucharist. He hates it because he hates God.
      He sends his ” earthly followers” to seek out Catholic churches to get hold of the Eucharist to “convince those human beings that God cannot harm him” and having them desorcrate the alter.
      I would Not want to be them when they die without remorse, standing before God in judgement. There Iscariot special place in hell for them!

      Peace,

      Michael

  • that florida lady

    I live in Florida . Mountains here are something you drive 10 hours one way to get to when you go to north Georgia or the Carolinas. So my perspective is a bit different. It takes patience to get there. Mountains? It is figurative here. :)

  • Jackie

    Yes, Jesus like Martin Luther King Jr. went to the mountain top and experienced total bliss. But the work for us is not on the mountain top, it’s in the valley. The valley of the human condition. It would be wonderful if we could stay totally transfigured and it can be done because Jesus said that we would do greater things than He. Only in eternity will we fully understand and acquire complete fullness. In the meantime we struggle though our weaknesses and hopefully we rise above ourselves just like Jesus asks us to do. Love one another. It’s a simple commandment but filled with many choices throughout this lifetime. How wonderful for humankind that God the Father sent us His beloved Son to keep us on the right path. “I did not come to suffer all this pain in vain; but to give you a new heart to beat as mine.”

    • concerned citizen

      True, Jackie. The Apostles wanted to stay on the mountain so they would not have to witness the Passion and Death of Jesus. That is why God told them to listen to Him. Jesus had been telling them He would suffer and die but they were not listening. They had to go down the mountain because Jesus still had to fulfill His mission and so did they.

      • Jackie

        True, most of us want the “dazzle” of the Christian message and we forget there’s still much to do to bring forth the Kingdom of God and it’s not all “wine and roses”.

  • donna

    Christ loved John the most? Thought we were all loved the same and unconditionally. Please explain Bishop Barron.

    • Anthony Ekene Onyeahialam

      I had these same thoughts too.

    • concerned citizen

      Donna, this just shows that God holds in high esteem those who are still virgins. Our Blessed Mother is a virgin. St. Joseph was a virgin, Jesus is a virgin and St. John was the only virgin among the Apostles. Even St. John the Baptist was a virgin. That is also why the Church I think insists on the vow of celibacy for priesthood. God indeed holds in high esteem the state of virginity.

      Why is this so? Here is an explanation from St. Thomas Aquinas

      Saint Thomas Aquinas, ST II-II.152.4: “Virginity is more excellent than marriage, which can be seen by both faith and reason. Faith sees virginity as imitating the example of Christ and the counsel of St. Paul. Reason sees virginity as rightly ordering goods, preferring a Divine good to human goods, the good of the soul to the good of the body, and the good of the contemaplative life to that of the active life.”

      • Gary

        What does that say about Peter our first Pope?

        • Gary

          Consider this. As I recall, was John not the youngest as were Joseph and David. There is something to be said about the love of the youngest in the family especially a Mother’s love. .

        • concerned citizen

          St. Thomas says Peter loved Jesus the most. If you were to appoint someone as head of your company, who would you choose? The person whom you love the most, or the person who loves you most? In my case, I would choose the latter. But even before Jesus anointed Peter, I feel that he was already the informal leader of the group. He was the sort of spokesperson also.

  • Dayna Ellis

    I loved this meditation, Bishop Barron. I often wondered why only three Apostles were allowed to view the Transfiguration. May you continue on the path of opening your readers’ eyes to the treasures hidden in Holy Scripture. The ending statement really sums up the meaning well. ” Those who are tied to him through love, will get access to the glory of Jesus!” Such a profound statement.

  • Anthony Ekene Onyeahialam

    Since I was a little boy, I have always been fascinated by the story of Our Lord’s transfiguration.It almosts feel like a scene from a Super Hero movie.Just thinking about it: Moses and Elijah – old testament characters appearing in the gospel and the one that really gets me – the way Peter, James and John are dazzled by “light” and Peter not knowing what he was saying. Bishop Barron references Aquinas in this reflection but Peter word’s about making tents bring to mind that popular quote from the other great doctor and theologian – St Augustine which goes thus: You have made us for yourself,Lord and our hearts are restless until they rest in you”. Peter and his companions must have experienced God in a very sublime way on Mount Tabor and it made every other thing useless to them.They wanted to remain there.They must have found perfect rest there.In St. Peter’s words,he say to Our Lord “Master, it is wonderful for us to be here”.
    I also thought about Prayer and Life in general while reflecting on The Transfiguration.It seems that at times,Our Lord allows us to have moments of light, great clarity and sensible devotion to draw us closer to himself.These do not occur so frequently in our Prayer life but their non-occurence do not mean that he is far away from us.Also, life has its vicissitudes and they should serve to keep us from the “pride of life”.
    Back to prayer, St. Luke tells us that as Jesus “prayed, the aspect of his face was changed and his clothing became brilliant as lightning.” There has to be something about prayer that “transforms us to God” – that makes us love Him and share that love with others.Blessed Mother Theresa once said that the work she and her sisters did was made possible primarily by Prayer – they started each day with mass and adoration.How instructive!
    The transfiguration is the fourth mystery of light of the Holy Rosary.Some pamphlets I have seen suggest meditating on a “Desire for Holiness” during this mystery when praying the rosary.And that is the one thing necessary.

    • Elizabeth

      Anthony Ekene Onyeahialam, I so appreciate your sharing your thoughts on how Our Lord’s transfiguration touched you. The next time I say the fourth mystery of light of the Holy Rosary, I will meditate on the Desire for Holiness.

    • concerned citizen

      Anthony, in the Scriptural Rosary, they suggest asking for the Grace of Spiritual Courage which in a way is related to “Desire for Holiness.” The Apostles were brought by Jesus to witness His Transfiguration to give them the spiritual courage and strength they needed during His Passion and Death on the Cross. We too need to have spiritual courage to do what is right though they may be unpopular or damaging to us.

  • concerned citizen

    I think many readers have asked why Jesus loved John the most. I have answered it below that it was because John was a virgin, but here is a more authoritative answer from EWTN:

    … For St. Austin tells us that,[5] “The singular privilege of his chastity rendered him worthy of the more particular love of Christ, because being chosen by him a virgin, he always remained such.” St. Jerome sticks pot to call all his other privileges and graces the recompense of his chastity, especially that which our Lord did him by recommending in his last moments his virgin mother to the care of this virgin disciple.[6]

    St. Ambrose, St. Chrysostom, St. Epiphanius, and other fathers frequently make the same reflection. Christ was pleased to choose a virgin for his mother, a virgin for his precursor, and a virgin for his favourite disciple; and his church suffers only those who live perfectly chaste to serve him in his priesthood, where they daily touch and offer his virginal flesh on his holy altar

  • Màire Ní Bhroin

    What a blessing the apostles were able to experience! Total Agape’ for our Lord through gazing at the light of his Holy Face. What a powerful moment to inspire us all to continue on through the highs and lows of our personal spiritual journies & evangelism! I pray that we may all find this Agape’ moment, as we contemplate His Holy Face during lent.

  • Alexis Chacchia

    One of the best things about Bishop Barron is that he writes as he speaks.

    I love it, I can connect to it and it makes me always want to know more!

  • Mariaeugenia

    Transfiguration means that we cannot RECOGNIZE another person whose aspect has changed (for better or worse), unless we request God to give us the light that sees in the darkness, that illuminates the hidden.

    We have to be near God, “camp” beside God, so as to talk/pray to God.

  • jewelle

    I still don’t get it. This one is tough to understand.

  • Kathy Lamb

    This on the Transfiguration is almost too much information. Though it’s good to know these details. often we see things during contemplation that make sense to us. That youth director at our church who is 24 years old was giving a power point talk one evening. I can’t remember the subject but I remember him telling us that Jesus was taken bodily to heaven. He said, “so somehow Jesus has his body in heaven.” He admitted that he didn’t understand how this could be. The next day I ran into him and commented on his statement about Jesus being in heaven with his body. I said I don’t understand it either but I suggested he think about the Transfiguration and Jesus’s glorified body when he pictured Jesus in heaven. And as far who was presented at the Transfiguration I never thought to wonder. Why wouldn’t Jesus be with Moses and Elijah? It’s logical. My thoughts on Peter, John and James being present. Jesus chose these three. I wasn’t concerned about the reason why. One eye witness is good but not that good, two makes the occurrence more believable and a third witness so much the better. These three were enough to share the experience with the other apostles.
    I’ve had a mystical experience. It’s personal. I don’t talk about it because I don’t want to be disbelieved. I shared another amazing mystical experience with my brother on the plane on the way to Sarajevo. The experience lasted 6 hours. This we share with our family and friends. Crazily I also experienced a mystical phenomena with a few hundred people outside the gym at Notre Dame University . This again is harder to share. Most people cannot accept this and attribute it to hysteria.
    I can’t wait to see Our Lord in all his glory.

  • Penelope

    All I thought when I read about the three disciples was that, like Peter, I too desire to love the Lord more than anything, and like John, I hope and trust that He loves me too. As for martyrdom, every moment I can choose to follow the Lord and not myself and my own desires, I pray I choose the Lord and die to my own will and desires. Would I be able to endure martyrdom?? I don’t know, I only hope and pray that by God’s grace, I will never deny Him. By God’s Grace. By God’s Grace alone. All of this, my love for the Lord, His love for me, always choosing the Lord. It is all by God’s Grace for me. For without God’s Grace and Mercy, it is not possible for me.

    A number of years ago, I discovered this novena of prayers attributed to Saint Ignatius of Loyola, and I made a chaplet for myself – easy to make – I’ll add the image, and I asked my priest to bless it…it goes like this:

    On the medal, begin with:
    Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will. All that I am and all that I possess You have given me: I surrender it all to You to be disposed of according to Your will. Give me only Your love and Your grace; with these I will be rich enough, and will desire nothing more.
    Grant O Lord, that my heart may neither desire nor seek anything but what is necessary for the fulfillment of Thy Holy Will. May health or sickness, riches or poverty, honors or contempt, humiliations, leave my soul in that state of perfect detachment to which I desire to attain for Thy greater honor & Thy greater glory.

    On each group of three beads, there are 9 (3-3-3) beads in all, pray: Our Father; Hail Mary; Glory Be.

    Conclude on the Crucifix with:
    O my God, teach me to be generous: to serve you as you deserve to be served; to give without counting the cost; to fight without fear of being wounded; to work without seeking rest; and to spend myself without expecting any reward, but the knowledge that I am doing Your Holy Will.
    Amen.

  • Beth

    I’ve never understood why the Bible says that Jesus loved John the most. Does he love some of us more than others? Even if he does love some of us more, why does He love John more than Peter when Peter loved Jesus the most (more than John)?

    • rtclovesmac

      It goes back to the beginning….why did God chose Able’s offering over Cain’s?
      Human perception gets lost in this conflict which is vanity and jealousy.
      I pray you do not get lost in this trap.

    • Susanrose

      If you have children or grandchildren, you love them all the same. But there will be one that you have notices with special characteristic in them. Beautiful quality and you try nurtures those quality in them. It doesn’t mean you love that child more then the others. Your love for them stay equally the same, this is what I come to know…
      Peace
      JMJ

  • Denise Guidry Mouledous

    Thank you for this explanation. It offers me so much more clarity on the Transfiguration.

  • judyabw@gmail.com

    What about the our Doctrine of the Church Militant represented by St. Peter, the Church Triumphant represented by St. John and the Church Suffering represented by St. James. This is Christ’s Church the New Covenant replacing the Old Covenant represented by the Law and the Prophets (Moses and Elijah)?

  • judyabw@gmail.com

    What happened to my post?

  • Norma

    The last sentence, reminds me of the parable of the true vine. Where Jesus is the vine and we are the branches, and who ever remains in Him or in his love will have ever lasting life, like an invitation to remain and to love.

  • Krista

    It’s always bothered me that it’s said that John is the most loved by Jesus….Overall, as a mother, I cannot pick one of my kids and say ‘I love this one most’. But, I’ve had some recent insight that at any given moment…especially when one child is being cruel to the other…that I love the one that’s being picked on more in that moment. This is not because of the misbehavior of the first lessening my love for them in any way, but I just love the second more in that moment simply because they NEED more love. So even though I can’t see Jesus playing favorites…I can see Him understanding that some of us just NEED His love more at times.

  • Linda Dokey

    Beautiful Explanation! THANK YOU! GOD BLESS