Grace to you!
When three of the apostles of Jesus saw a glimpse of the glory of God on top of the mountain popularly identified as Mount Thabor, though some scholars suggest Mount Libanus (whatever may be the case isn’t my interest here), it was a sight to behold. Matthew 17:1-11 records the event with fascinating details.
“And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him….”
Peter’s famous appeal to have three booths and settle (forever) on the mountain beholding the sight of Jesus, Moses and Elijah, was simply an understatement of how he, James and John felt. They saw a glimpse. How about when the full glory is revealed?
Inspired by the glory, the apostles asked a question that may have bothered them for a while. It had to do with what the scribes taught concerning the coming of the Messiah, preceded by Elijah, and what they see in Christ as the glory was revealed, the climax being the event of the Transfiguration.
Hence, as they were coming down from the mountain, the disciples asked Jesus, “Then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” He replied, “Elijah does come, and he is to restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not know him, but did to him whatever they pleased…” (Matthew 17:9-12).
The glimpse revealed to the three apostles the reality of the Christ. He isn’t Elijah. He wasn’t any of the prophets. Jesus is the Lord. On the mountain, the apostles’ eyes were opened, illumined to see, in a jiffy, as God sees. This is exactly what the power of grace does in the soul.
I see in the event of the Transfiguration, the function of grace in the soul of believers. Sanctifying grace enlightens our intellect to see the beauties and glory of God and all his works. We begin to pierce into the sublimities of the divine and our hearts are enriched with divine beauty. The light of this beauty beats any imagination.
In any soul (person) in which grace is intact, that soul, the temple of God, becomes of the Christ with the fullness of glory fitted for its nature. God’s glory shines in that temple. The shine is beauty beyond all telling. Little wonder sometimes even our physical countenance could exude that glory too.
Joy within, beauty within, sanctity within finds a friend in the heart to whom Christ is enthroned as Lord.
Sanctifying grace liberates and enlightens. True enlightenment is to see as God sees and to perceive as God perceives. Sounds like a utopia, doesn’t it? Yet, it is in this lies the fullness of the glory we desire now as we await it in the time to come. Blessed are those to whom this grace is bequeathed.
On this Day 14 of Advent, may we ask ourselves: is anything making God less in my life and depriving me of this glory? Now is an apt time to reconcile. Restore by grace. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is provided for this rekindling, the Eucharist its flourishing.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.