and his clothes became dazzling white

The Gospel for the second Sunday of Lent speaks of the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ. Jesus invites three of his closest friends to hike with him up a mountain where he is transfigured before their eyes. It is clear from the reading that the apostles didn’t have a clue what transfiguration meant. And I suspect many of us might fall into that same category.

Transfiguration of Christ

Transfiguration of Christ

Transfiguration is not an easy word to grasp. Outside the Bible the only recent use is in the stories about Harry Potter, where Professor Dumbledore teaches a ‘Transfiguration’ class. But it really isn’t about transfiguration but rather transformation which is defined as changing from one thing into another. Jesus wasn’t transformed, he was transfigured and in this case, transfiguration is in seeing reality, seeing Jesus for who he really is, the Son of God. Jesus does not change form; he remains himself, only his divinity is revealed.

Transfiguration is defined as a marked change in form or appearance; a metamorphosis. In school I remember being taught that you cannot define a word using the word itself. For example, you can’t define “transfiguration as the act of being transfigured.” That makes perfect sense to me. But I believe that you should never use equally obscure, equally unknown words within a definition, like metamorphosis.  The definition of metamorphosis is a change of physical form, structure, or substance especially by supernatural means. And supernatural is defined as departing from what is usual or normal especially so as to appear to transcend the laws of nature.  So transfiguration really means to change one’s physical appearance in some unknown and unnatural way. Mark does not describe the transfiguration other than to say “He was transfigured before them and his clothes became dazzling white…” We can only imagine to what extent his physical appearance was changed.

Jesus revealed his divinity, his mighty power, his divine glory to prepare the apostles for what was to come, to help them understand the true nature of his passion, death, and resurrection. Jesus revealed his divine nature so that the apostles would see that it was not for any lack of power on his part that he allowed himself to be crucified by his enemies, but because he had freely chosen to suffer in that way for our salvation.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.