Luke 9:28-36 (37-43a) (NRSV)
Verse 28Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. Verse 29And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Verse 30Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. Verse 31They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Verse 32Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Verse 33Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah" not knowing what he said. Verse 34While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Verse 35Then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!" Verse 36When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.
Verse 37On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. Verse 38Just then a man from the crowd shouted, "Teacher, I beg you to look at my son; he is my only child. Verse 39Suddenly a spirit seizes him, and all at once he shrieks. It convulses him until he foams at the mouth; it mauls him and will scarcely leave him. Verse 40I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not." Verse 41Jesus answered, "You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here." Verse 42While he was coming, the demon dashed him to the ground in convulsions. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the boy, and gave him back to his father.
Verse 43And all were astounded at the greatness of God. While everyone was amazed at all that he was doing, he said to his disciples,
The Transfiguration event and imagery are both elusive and evocative. The story recalls how Jesus invited three of his disciples to withdraw with him to a mountain to pray. Similar to the beginning of his Passion, when Jesus led his disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane, while Jesus prayed, they were drowsy, until, in today’s episode, his face shone in glory and his clothes became dazzling white. The power of prayer in God's presence transformed the disciples—or did it? Often, we too, like the disciples, may experience God's presence in a transforming moment but then fail to see God active in our day-to-day lives.
Jesus prayed often. How often do we quiet ourselves and withdraw in prayer with God? Jesus taught us to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread" (Matthew 6:11)—words that are meant for daily transformation of our lives by God's presence in our midst, now and forever.
God of the Transfiguration, transform us into the likeness of your Son, and teach us to pray with confidence in your daily presence. Amen.