Photo illustration by Phil Younk
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Based on the Gospel of Matthew 17: 1-9
A mountaintop, a glimpse of glory, and a voice from the cloud saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus takes Peter, James and John with him and goes up a mountain to pray. These three apostles are the ones who accompany Jesus whenever something important occurs in the Gospels. Jesus has been teaching all of the apostles who he is and what it means to be his disciples. He had told them of his forthcoming suffering, death, and Resurrection. This greatly troubles the apostles.

Now as he prays, Jesus is transfigured (changed). His face shines as bright and radiant as the sun, and his clothes become whiter and more dazzling than new fallen snow. Moses and Elijah appear and begin talking to Jesus. Remember who these men were? Moses was given the Ten Commandments by God on Mount Sinai, and he led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land. Elijah was a prophet, a person who speaks in God’s name and delivers God’s message to people. He warned people not to disobey God and to follow God’s law.

The three apostles are overwhelmed at what they see. A cloud covers them and out of the cloud the apostles hear a voice saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” 

Afraid, the apostles fall to the ground and cover their faces. Jesus touches them and says, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” Jesus gave Peter, James and John a glimpse of his divine glory – a preview of his Resurrection and eternal life in heaven that awaits everyone who follows him faithfully, and to build up their faith that he is truly the Son of God.

Listening to Jesus means getting to know him. Out of love for us, God the Father sent Jesus, his own Son, to guide and save us. All we have to do is listen to him, and, with trust, turn to him. How? By spending concentrated time in prayer, by following the teachings of the church, by spending concentrated time in reading the Gospels and the rest of Holy Scripture, by experiencing Jesus truly present in the Eucharist, and, as Jesus’ disciples, trying to live each day with faith, hope, and love, no matter the cost.