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  • Bill Miller

Scripture Reflection, The Transfiguration, August 6, 2023

Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 2 Peter 1:16-19 Matthew 17:1-9

Our first reading today, from the Book of Daniel, is often interpreted by Christian biblical scholars as a dynamic foreshadowing of the Transfiguration…the event we celebrate today, as recounted in the Gospel reading from Matthew. Daniel himself might have interpreted his vision as a foretelling of the coming of the Messiah - and the early Christians certainly associated this text with the Messiah, whom they (and we) believe was Jesus.

The second reading, from the Second Letter of St. Peter, also carries the theme of Jesus as Messiah. The author gives us the words of the Father spoken about Jesus: “This is my son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” And these very words are also referenced today in Matthew’s Gospel.

Today’s readings also share other remarkable characteristics: references to a mountain - considered a holy place by the Israelites, where God proclaims the laws and revelations that the people need to hear; references to a bright light - attributed to both the Father and to Jesus - signifying majesty, knowledge and purity; and references to “the Son of Man” - generally interpreted to mean the holy Messiah, both in the Hebrew and the Christian Scriptures.

So what does all of this emphasis on transfiguration mean for us today. Personally, I love the interpretation given by Michelle Francl-Donnay, a biblical scholar, writing in the August 2023 edition of the worship aid Give Us this Day. She suggests: “We want to cling to the God of glory, to fall at the feet of the divine. Instead, Jesus reaches for us in the dust and says (something like this): ‘Get up. Be opened, that you might hear my voice, that you might be my voice. And above all, do not fear. Walk with me and be transfigured. Walk with me and transfigure the world.’ “ (p. 73)

Imagine that: We are being called - called to be “transfigurers”. What a concept!

by: Bill Miller

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