Listen to Him!
Nov 3, 2014 2576
The traditional site of the transfiguration is Mt Tabor in Israel. When I visited the summit, I went into the beautiful Church of the Transfiguration – a Franciscan Church – that is found there.
Peter would have been pleased.
Remember, he was the one who was so excited that he said to Jesus, “This is great!” (paraphrased), and he started to suggested Jesus that they should “put up three shelters – one for Jesus, one for Moses, and another one for Elijah” (Matt 17:4).
And Peter would have been pleased because in the Church of the Transfiguration there are indeed three shrines, one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (v.5)
The disciples fell down terrified, and Jesus came to help them, and he touched them. The gospel says that when they looked up, “they saw Jesus only” (Matt 17:8).
Moses was the greatest prophet of the Pentateuch. Elijah was the greatest prophet of the rest of the Old Testament. They were the pillars of the Jewish institution and it’s traditions.
The transfiguration teaches us that God honours his prophets.
However, that’s not the principal lesson that the Father wanted to teach those dull-headed disciples – and us.
The Father didn’t say, “That’s a good idea, Peter! Just make Jesus’ shrine a little bigger.” No, not at all!
In a dramatic and simple way, God teaches us that no matter how true or faithful a prophet (or religious leader, or pastor, or evangelist, or institution, etc…) may be, and no matter how much he or it may be venerated by others, Jesus is above all, and we, like the disciples, are to look to Jesus only.
But we just love to build shrines, don’t we? Except we don’t build them our of stone or wood….
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