Scripture Lesson: Mark 9:2-13
Meditation: “. . . and he was transfigured before them . . .”
The Gospel doesn’t say that Jesus was “transformed.” He didn’t undergo an actual change of substance, only a change of outer appearance. The shining white of his clothes (and in the story as told by Matthew and Luke, also of his face) is a glimpse of the glory that Jesus already had as eternal Son of the Father, but which was hidden from the eyes of those who lived with him. During his earthly life, his glory was not physically evident, but on this occasion, the chosen three get a special glimpse into his deeper reality.
This Gospel story reminds me of the concept of a parallel universe, sometimes used in science fiction and fantasy writing. In this idea, someone finds a point of contact or a portal between two separate “realities.” In the transfiguration of Jesus, it’s as if a parallel universe of eternity is briefly perceived in time. On that mountaintop there is a connection with the eternal world, which we will one day enter, where the Son of God dwells in glory.
Perhaps it would be good to imagine the parallel universe that is linked to our lives, too. What is the deeper reality behind the ordinary people in our lives? If we could see them as God does — from the other side of eternity — what would they look like? There might be dazzlingly beautiful people all around us! If we could see the hidden acts of charity that many people carry out, the joy with which they give of themselves, the love with which they carry their crosses, we might be blinded by the spectacle. But God doesn’t allow us to see this deeper truth during our lifetime. We have to wait until we pass to eternity through the portal of death. Then we will be transformed and able to see the truth that is hidden from us in life.
Jesus, help me remember that you see things differently than we human beings do. You see the deeper reality of the heart, which is hidden from us. When I am discouraged by my efforts that seem to come to nothing, remind me of my own hidden glory. Help me recall the hidden beauty and glory that may be concealed in the people around me — those closest to me and the strangers I come in contact with.
God sees beyond our appearance and into our hearts.
Adapted from Ordinary Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections, (c) 2011, by the Daughters of St. Paul.