Remember. Memory. Reminder. All these words suggest recalling something that has been forgotten. They are asking to bring to mind again something important. When we remember, we become aware of what has been forgotten. When we recall, we make present what is absent. Good memories we want to remember. Bad memories we want to forget. I remember counseling someone who had painful memories of the past. It made her feel bad about herself because of the neglect she felt from her parents. On the other hand, if our memory of our past is about how much love and care we received, it’s a memory worth remembering and thinking about.
The Gospel story of the Transfiguration of Jesus is about remembering a particular memory. It is an event that will serve as a reminder for the disciples of Jesus – a reminder to them that when Jesus would be condemned to death, new life awaited; when he is crucified on the cross, victory is waiting; when he was buried in the tomb, it will become empty on the third day.
Jesus is a good student of human nature. He knew his disciples would become weak in faith once they see him suffer, be crucified and die on the cross. So he made sure they will remember him with a glorious event like the Transfiguration. He shows himself to them transfigured and even together with Moses and Elijah, two great figures of the Old Testament.
A remembered moment is a source of strength in times of weakness; a river of courage when overpowered by fear; a mountain of certainty when besieged by doubts. The Transfiguration of Jesus is their remembered moment that Jesus wanted them to recall time and time again.
In truth, Jesus gives us the same remembered moment. The Transfiguration of Jesus is not only for the apostles Peter, James and John but for all of us. We can easily complain that we don’t have many moments to recall the presence of Jesus. But in truth, we do. We simply fail to recognize such moments. It is just a matter of seeing and looking more intently. It’s like having a third eye as it were, seeing with the soul. What we see influences and even changes our behavior. We see something, which at first glance, we judge as unacceptable actions. But when we get to know the deeper reason for such actions, and realize the pain behind it, we change our way of seeing and judging events and people. It changes us and our behavior as well. We do have our transfiguration moments with Jesus. We simply fail to see them.
We must remember what this gospel is telling us. If God reveals Himself in the human face of Jesus, Jesus is also revealed in the human faces of those who touch us in love and we touch with love as well. WE need only to see in a new way, we need to remember the transfigured face of Jesus and we will be reminded of his presence in our life.