The Transfiguration of our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Feast Day August 6.
In the third year of His preaching, the Lord Jesus often spoke to His
disciples of His approaching passion but at the same time of His glory following
His suffering on the Cross. So that His impending passion would not totally
weaken His disciples and that no one would fall away from Him, He, the All-wise,
wanted to partially show them His divine glory before His passion. For that
reason, He took Peter, James and John with Him and, with them, went out at night
to Mt. Tabor and there was transfigured before them: "And His face shone
as the sun and His garments became white as snow" (St. Matthew 17:2). There
appeared along side Him, Moses and Elijah, the great Old Testament prophets.
And, seeing this, His disciples were amazed. Peter said: "Lord, it is good
for us to be here: if You will, let us make here three tabernacles; one for You,
one for Moses and one for Elijah" (St. Matthew 17:4).
Why did the Lord
take only three disciples on Tabor and not all? Because Judas was not worthy to
behold the divine glory of the Teacher, Whom he will betray and the Lord did not
want to leave him [Judas] alone at the foot of the mountain so that the betrayer
would not, by that, justify his betrayal.
Why was our Lord transfigured on a
mountain and not in a valley? So as to teach us two virtues: love of labor and
godly-thoughts. For, climbing to the heights required labor and height
represents the heights of our thoughts, i.e., godly-thoughts.
Why was our Lord
transfigured at night? Because, the night rather than the day is more suitable
for prayer and godly-thoughts and because the night, by its darkness, conceals
all the beauty of the earth and reveals the beauty of the starry heavens.
did Moses and Elijah appear? In order to destroy the error of the Jews, as
though Christ is one of the prophets; Elijah or Jeremiah or some other that is
why He appears as a King above the prophets and that is why Moses and Elijah
appear as His servants. Until then, our Lord manifested His divine power many
times to the disciples but, on Mt. Tabor, He manifested His divine nature. This
vision of His Divinity and the hearing of the heavenly witness about Him as the
Son of God, should serve the disciples in the days of the Lord's passion, in
strengthening of an unwavering faith in Him and His final victory.
From the Prologue.