1. St. Leo the Great explains to us that one purpose of the Transfiguration was to remove the scandal of the cross from the hearts of the disciples: “The foremost subject was to remove the offense of the cross from the disciple’s heart, and to prevent their faith from being disturbed by the humiliation of his voluntary passion by revealing to them the excellence of his hidden dignity” (cf. Sermon 51). Furthermore, by revealing to the disciples’ the Paschal glory with which the face of risen Christ was to shine, we are made to see that the cross doesn’t spell the end of everything, but that the sufferings of the present should lead us to look forward to future glory. Living in our bodies and in our lives the passion and death of Jesus, we will be sharers in his same glory.
2. “Let us build three tents…” These familiar words of Peter (the same apostle who made the confession of faith in Christ’s divinity), reveal to us how easy we are attracted to what is beautiful, to what is pleasing. It brings home to us once more the natural repugnance of whatever is costly and difficult. “But he did not know what he was saying”, the gospel of Luke records, referring to Peter. We were not called merely to contemplate that Beauty: we were called to share in it. In order to participate in the transfigured glory of the Son of God, we have to share in his Passion and Death. The only road towards the glory of the resurrection is the road of the cross. In our personal, day-to-day life, this means being open to the grace of conversion: dying to our pride, to our selfishness. It means rejecting sin in the many instances of our day; do an examination of your day and you’ll be surprised at the times you’ve been proud and selfish.
3. “This is my chosen Son; listen to him”: this is basically the challenge of Christian life, which this season of Lent serves to highlight for us. Responding to the grace of conversion is listening (not just hearing) to the Gospel; it means being open to Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. Christian life is a process of listening. We cannot respond if we are not capable of listening. Listening doesn’t only lead us to pray and reflect: more importantly, it also leads us to act. “Today if you hear his voice, harden not your hearts”: these words of the liturgy should serve as an invitation to listen to Christ, our companion on this Lenten pilgrimage.