In today's gospel reading in Luke, Jesus takes Peter, John and James to the top of the mountain to pray. While praying, his face changes and his clothes become white. And then two men appear with him and begin conversing with him. They are Moses and Elijah, and Jesus speaks with them of his exodus from Jerusalem.
We call this event the Transfiguration because the disciples see Jesus transfigured, manifesting his glory. It is in his transfiguration that Christ displays to the disciples the reality of who he is.
It is no happenstance that Moses and Elijah appear. These are not merely two random Old Testament figures. Moses is the giver of God's Law, and Elijah the most revered of the prophets. Just as in today's reading, these two men also ascended a mountain to witness the glory of God (Ex. 24:15-18; 1 Kg 19:8-18).
Moses had promised, "The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers -- it is to him you shall listen" (Duet 18:15).
Now, in this moment, Jesus Christ reveals himself as the fulfillment of this promise -- indeed, of all that the Law and the Prophets give witness to. God the Father's voice is heard from the cloud, "This is my chosen Son; listen to him."
Jesus speaks with Moses and Elijah about his "exodus from Jerusalem." Exodus means "departure," but more than that, it calls to mind the historic exodus when Moses led the Isrealites out of their bondage in Egypt. Christ is preparing to lead not just Isreal, but all of mankind out of our bondage to sin and death.
In today's first reading from Genesis, God speaks to Abraham about the land promised to his descendants. It was to this Promised Land that Moses led his liberated people. But in today's second reading from Philippians, St. Paul tells us that now "our citizenship is in heaven." This is the new Promised Land, the ultimate goal of our new exodus from sin.
Are you a fellow pilgrim on this journey to the heavenly kingdom? To join this new exodus, you only must put your faith in the Lord, as Abraham did. You need to follow the way of Mary, who said, "Do whatever he tells you to do" (Jn 2:5). You need to heed the words of the Father: "Listen to him."
Upon witnessing the Transfiguration, Peter tells the Lord, "Master, it is good that we are here." We today climb that mountaintop whenever we come to worship at Mass. We can see the Lord in his transfigured glory in the Eucharist, if we have the eyes of faith. We can head the voice of the Father, if we have the ears of faith. And we can feel in our hearts and proclaim with our lips, along with Peter, "It is good, Master, that we are here."