The prologue to St. John’s gospel introduces God’s Son as the Word. This life-giving Word—spoken down through the ages—became flesh and lived in our midst. For all of Christian history, the Word is intimately connected with all of human life. It is the purpose of TWIL (“The Word Is Life”) to bring the gospel to life and to bring life to the gospel. This blog will feature reflections on the Sunday Scriptures from contemporary Catholic writers, words of wisdom for our Spiritual journey from saints and blessed, and thoughtful reflections on masterpieces of sacred art. We at Living with Christ hope that they will help you grow in your spiritual life and deepen your relationship with the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Standing in the presence of God

Categories: Sunday Scripture Reflection,The Word Is Life

The Transfiguration has many allusions to the Old Testament. It occurs on a mountaintop, as did Moses’ initial encounter with God at Mount Sinai and the subsequent delivery there of the Ten Commandments establishing the covenant between God and Israel. Moses and Elijah represent the Law and the Prophets respectively. The color of Jesus’ clothes matches God enthroned in Daniel 7:9. The references to “glory” use a word associated with God’s presence in the Old Testament. Jesus’ impending departure in Jerusalem is called an “exodus,” reflecting God’s liberation of the Israelite slaves from Egypt. Peter’s desire to build three tents suggests the Feast of Tabernacles, which recalls the Israelites’ mode of shelter at Sinai. Finally, the voice from the cloud quotes Psalm 2:7 while also alluding to God’s chosen servant (Isaiah 42:1) and the command to listen to the anticipated prophet like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15).

The Transfiguration, therefore, clearly links Jesus to the traditions of the Jewish people while giving Peter, John, and James a glimpse of his true nature. Despite the humiliating death he will suffer in Jerusalem, Jesus is revealed here as divine. It is significant that this happens while they all are praying, showing us that when we take the time to enter into God’s presence, we really can encounter the God of Israel who is manifested in and through Jesus himself.

John L. McLaughlin

Author: Living with Christ

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