Jesus began to show his disciples
that he must undergo great suffering and be killed.
Peter said, “God forbid it, Lord!”
But Jesus said, “If you want to become my followers,
deny yourself and take up your cross and follow me.”
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter
and James and his brother John
and led them up a high mountain, by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them,
and his face shone like the sun.
And a voice said, “This is my Son; listen to him!”
Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision
until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
—from Matthew 16.21-17.9
The transfiguration is not just about Jesus shining with glory. It’s God’s affirmation of the way of the cross: the way of forgiveness and love even of our enemies, the way of solidarity with those who suffer, the way of deep self-giving, the way of vulnerability for the sake of justice. On the mountain Jesus shines with the light of resurrection. The way of the cross, that dark path, is full of light.
If Jesus is only shining with glory we won’t have gotten the story right. Not until we have seen the suffering and the resurrection can we speak truthfully about it.
Above the way of suffering there is a brightly lit sign saying “Entrance.” God help us to see, and to follow.