Jesus often took his disciples away from the crowds to be alone in a quiet place where they could talk and pray together. He walked among his friends and tapped them on their shoulders. “Who do the crowds say that I am?” he asked them. His friends answered quickly. They named John the Baptist, Elijah and several other prophets.
Then Jesus asked them another, similar question. Peter gave the first answer. “The Messiah of God.” Jesus immediately warned his disciples not to repeat that revelation to anyone else. As a week passed, Jesus spoke very few words to his disciples. Then he called only Peter, James and John to come with him.
Jesus walked ahead of his three friends in silence. Peter, James and John thought Jesus was troubled by something, so they did not bother him with questions. They walked up a worn path on a nearby mountain. When the path faded away into gravel and sparse shrubbery, Jesus continued walking. Then he found a grassy spot where he knelt down to pray. Peter motioned to James and John to kneel behind Jesus and to join him in prayer. Jesus stood up and walked further up the mountain. He motioned with his hands for his friends to stay where they were. He again knelt down to pray. A light shined on Jesus. It appeared to come from the sky, from the ground, from everywhere at once. Peter, James and John, who were exhausted from the climb and the lateness of the day, became wide awake and alert. Then two other men appeared with Jesus.
The two men were Moses and Elijah. They talked with Jesus within the path of the great light. The three disciples were too amazed by what was happening in front of them to say anything, and they could not hear what Jesus was saying. When Moses and Elijah began to disappear, Peter approached Jesus and tried to speak.
“Master, let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” Before Peter had even finished his sentence, a dense cloud cast a shadow over him and his friends. The darkness was so intense that Peter, James and John shivered with fear.
Then a deep, powerful voice said, “This is my chosen son, listen to him.” The cloud vanished and Moses and Elijah were no longer with Jesus.
READ MORE ABOUT IT:
1. Why did Jesus take his friends to the mountain?
2. Who appeared with Jesus in the light?
The church calls the miraculous event where Jesus was changed in appearance and bathed in white light his Transfiguration. Pope John Paul II considers this event one of the Five Luminous Mysteries, or Mysteries of Light. He wrote, “The Transfiguration is not only the revelation of Christ’s glory, but also a preparation for facing Christ’s cross.”
Bible scholars believe it is significant that the Transfiguration took place approximately a week after Peter’s great confession, where he said Jesus was the Messiah of God. Peter, James, and John saw a glimpse of the true glory of Jesus, and the voice told them that Jesus was his “chosen son. Listen to him.”
Because we have the Bible, we are able to share in the power of the Transfiguration, and the words of the voice speak to us today as much as they spoke to the disciples 2,000 years ago. We should continue to pray that our ears are open to the words of God.
St. Boniface left his home town of Brussels when he was 17 to study at the University in Paris. He rose from being a student to a professor and quickly became a skilled and popular teacher.
Students stopped attending his lectures after a conflict arose between them and the professors. He moved to Cologne, where he taught at a cathedral school.
He became a bishop, but after being attacked and injured for things that he said, Boniface appealed to the pope and asked to be released from his job. The pope agreed, and St. Boniface spent the rest of his life at a nunnery in Brussels. He died in 1260.
In spite of his preference for a peaceful life, his writings continue to influence people today. We remember him on Feb. 19.