"Certainly, our deepest hope is that we too might be transfigured." The Last Sunday After Epiphany
On this last Sunday of Epiphany, we find ourselves up on the mountain in the clouds with Jesus. The text tells us that his face shown like the sun and then he was standing with Moses and Elijah, the lawgiver and the prophet. It’s hard to know what this all means. But we shouldn’t feel too bad about this, because even the great disciples, Peter, James and John didn’t know what it all meant. Peter vainly offered to build three dwelling places for these three heroes of the faith, but soon he too was overshadowed by a bright cloud and a voice that pronounced Jesus to be God’s beloved, worthy to be heard.
Certainly, our deepest hope is that we too might be transfigured. That is, we would be filled with this same divine radiance that would satisfy and saturate every imaginable desire. In fact, just to think of this as a possibility is to exercise the imagination in such a way that ordinary thought seems to be pedestrian and useless.
I think we do violence to these texts when we seek to domesticate them to our ordinary linear thought patterns. In I Corinthians, St. Paul says that God has made the wisdom of this world to be foolishness. For me this suggests that there is a level of consciousness that is rarely achieved or even imagined. Like Peter we offer to domesticate mystical experience long before we have had a chance allow ourselves the vertiginous experience of letting ourselves become open to the presence of this higher power or consciousness, sometimes called mystical experience.
As we approach the season of Lent, maybe we can place ourselves on a spiritual journey to follow the Christ up the mountain and to converse with the law and the prophets with the idea of being overwhelmed by the overwhelming presence of the divine, that seeks to communicate with us, in spite of ourselves!