Today we celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration, one of the twelve Great Feasts of the Church. The Gospel for the Feast (Matthew 17:1-9) tells us how Jesus took the Apostles Peter, James and John with Him up a mountain, where He was transfigured before them, radiating light. The prophets Moses and Elijah also appeared, but a voice from heaven made clear to them that it is Jesus Christ who is the Son of God, echoing the voice that had sounded at His baptism in the Jordan: “This is my Son, the Beloved; He enjoys my favour. Listen to Him.”
At the Transfiguration, the Apostles encounter Jesus Christ in a new way, and this experience is given to them to prepare and strengthen them for His Passion. It is also given to the Church to reveal to us our own human destiny. Just as Christ’s face and clothes were radiant with Light, so we are called to be cleansed of sin and to gradually learn to see and to participate in His Light. Moreover, Christ’s Transfiguration illumines the whole universe with His Light.
For all of us who struggle in the darkness and brokenness of our lives and world, this feast reminds us that Christ is also present in our world, and it challenges us to develop the spiritual eyes so that we may learn to see Him. For, as the Apolytikion for the feast reminds us, we can only see Him as much as our own sight allows us to.
You were transfigured on the mountain, O Christ God, showing your disciples your glory, as far as they could bear it. At the prayers of the Theotokos make your everlasting light shine also on us sinners. Giver of light, glory to You.
Apolytikion for the Feast