Reflecting the Mind of the
Vatican Since 1850

Transfiguration in Christ
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A word acquires a more precise meaning in a sentence of which it is an integral part. The word “salt” as found in the New Testament is understood only in its context: “Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it?” (Mark 9:50). And again, “Anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate, but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit” (John 10:1).

The Transfiguration is reported by the writers of the three synoptic Gospels in very similar terms. Yet each writer tells it in his own way, placing it in its own context. The fourth Gospel does not report the Transfiguration scene, but “glory” suffuses the Gospel’s entire narrative. Meanwhile, Peter, in his Second Letter, gives a clear account of it: “We made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, not because we went after artificially invented fables, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’ We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain” (2 Pet1:16-18).

In Mark, the Transfiguration account (cf. Mark 9:2-8) is found in the middle of the Gospel, but not alone. The pericope in which God presents Jesus as “God’s Son” acts as a pendant to another confession, the so-called “confession of Caesarea,” in which Peter recognizes Jesus as “the Christ” (cf. Mark 8:27-29). The two confessions go hand in hand; they are complementary. One rises from the earth, the other descends from heaven; the first is expressed by a person, the second by God.
© Union of Catholic Asian News 2024
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