The story of the Transfiguration is found in the Gospels of Matthew (17:1–8), Mark (9:2–8), and Luke (9:28–36), and the Second Epistle of Peter (1:16–18). Every few years, the Church reads the Transfiguration twice on different Sundays. We hear it on the Second Sunday of Lent. When the Feast of the Transfiguration (August 6) falls on a Sunday like this past year, it takes precedence over the regular Sunday readings.

This Sunday, we move from Jesus’ retreat to the desert to his Transfiguration. Peter, John, and James witnessed the changing of Jesus’ appearance with bright light as a flash of lightning. This event heralds the Divine identity of Jesus. Jesus received an affirmation from God through a voice from the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, whom I have chosen; listen to Him (Luke 9:35). The same affirmation also took place during Christ’s baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist.

The disciples saw Jesus with Moses and Elijah, two significant figures of the Old Testament. Moses represents the Law, and Elijah represents the prophets. Jesus embodies the lawgiver and prophet who would bring another exodus to benefit Israel and all people. The location on the mountain conjures to Mt. Sinai, where God revealed Himself to Moses and Elijah.

The Transfiguration was the sign that Jesus was ready to move to Jerusalem. According to Fr. John Kilgallen, a Bible scholar, “Jesus offers the vision of Himself glorified, in the hope that the three disciples’ glimpse of the Lord transfigured, a glimpse into the reality which reveals His power and majesty, will encourage His disciples to profess their faith in Him courageously.”

The Transfiguration occurred shortly before Jesus entered Jerusalem to begin His Passion. The distinctive placement of the Transfiguration right after the prophecy of Jesus’ death in Jerusalem has a purpose. The Transfiguration is a way of revealing to the disciples the glory of Jesus. This event encourages them to keep them strong at the crucifixion.

There is a reason that a Gospel on the Transfiguration story is placed on the second Sunday of Lent. It inspires us to join Jesus this season of Lent in His journey to the Cross. It reminds us that the practice of fasting, penance, prayers, and almsgiving helps bring us to Easter. Jesus shows us that sacrifice is part of the journey. The cross on Good Friday must be carried. There is no shortcut to attaining God’s glory.

Similarly, there is no easy way to our existential journey. Life is unlike watching a movie on Netflix, where we can adjust, rewind, pause, or fast-forward an episode. Real life is different. We must take each step of the way and be immersed in it. There is no way to hold or fast forward the rhythm and seasons of life, whether joyful or challenging. However, the most important thing to remember is that God is good and accompanies us in the unfolding of our lives. God is there to celebrate with us in our joy and to support us in times of need. God is part of the story. He inspires us to keep moving and going.

Let us not be tempted to deviate from our true calling or to settle on what’s easy, even if it compromises our relationship with God. In the previous Sunday’s reading, the devil attempted to tempt Jesus to deviate from the plan of His Father by misusing His authority and privileges. Peter wanted a glorious savior who would not go through the pains of the cross, just as the devil pressed for free rolls from stones. There is one thing in common between the devil and Peter. They wanted to reach glory not according to God’s will but their own.

Jesus clarified that the path to His Kingdom lies in the inseparable Paschal Mystery, His passion, death, and resurrection. The Transfiguration encourages Peter, James, John, and all of us, His future followers, to be patient and faithful in seeking God’s plan in our lives. Jesus gives us a glimpse of His glory in the Transfiguration, which inspires us to walk through the ups and downs of life with God until the end. Indeed, the Transfiguration is a vision and a story of hope.