Yesterday we talked about the divine light as it appears through holy men and women. But is it possible for us ordinary people to see this light? I suggest that we do so every time we enter into the drama and beauty of the liturgy.
As Jesus appears in full glory, Peter, James, and John fall down in holy fear. This suggests an attitude of worship, the stance that all of us assume every time we approach the altar of God.
See also how the story paints an icon of the liturgy, both earthly and heavenly. At the center of it stands Jesus, the light of the world, the source of life. On either side of him stand Moses (the Law) and Elijah (the prophet). In the course of the liturgy, we read from the Old Testament, described in Jesus’ time in the shorthand of “the Law and the Prophets.”
Moses and Elijah also stand for the communion of saints, those who have been drawn into the heavenly life and who commune with Jesus. They are present at the liturgy, too, as we invoke them just before the Eucharistic prayer: “with the angels and the saints.”
There is also a “bright cloud” and from the cloud a voice declaring, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased, listen to him.” The bright cloud signifies the Holy Spirit, and the voice is that of God the Father. This is a Trinitarian theophany—as at the Baptism of Jesus—and this theophany runs right through the liturgy from beginning to end.
After the vision, Peter, James, and John return to their day-to-day lives, coming back down the mountain. So, after we have glimpsed the light, we are told, “Go, the Mass is ended.”