I recently watched the movie, Little Boy. It is about a lonely child who is desperate for his father, a soldier in World War II, to come back home. Every day, Little Boy goes to face the setting sun on the water front and tries to bring his father back through his will power. The townspeople, watching him every day, move from amusement to pity, perhaps even fear. No one says it out loud, but everyone wonders, “What if Dad doesn’t come back? Won’t Little Boy be disappointed? Has he been encouraged to work so hard for his father’s return in vain?”
reading on the Transfiguration reminded me of this scene. Many commentators interpret the Transfiguration as an event to prepare Peter, James, and John for the scandal of the cross. Moses and Elijah appear with the transfigured Jesus. Did they ask, “Why did it take so long for you to come? What was all those years of salvation history for, anyway?” No, they were in awe of Jesus’ presence, just like the apostles. In the face of the glorified Christ, there is no such thing as counting the cost or a sense of time wasted, but only the fulfillment of their desire for communion with the living God.
I like to imagine Peter, James and John often recalling this event in the midst of the tragedy of the Crucifixion and during the many trials and disappointments of their apostolic labors. I imagine that the Transfiguration was a sign to them that, while there may be setbacks, the Christian life does not end in disappointment. Spend some time before Jesus transfigured today; bring your failures, tragedies, and suffering before him and see what he thinks of them. You might be surprised; instead of hearing condemnation, you may hear the voice of the Father break through the lies of what you may think of these failures so you can here: “This is my beloved son…”
- Sister M. Mediatrix, FSGM