We read on Sunday, “Jesus took Peter, James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.” (Mat 17:1-2)
Raniero Cantalamessa writes in his book, ‘The Mystery of the Transfiguration.’ ” However, the Transfiguration of Christ concerns his mystical body not only in the next life but in this life as well. Saint Paul twice uses the verb meaning ‘to be transformed’ (in Greek ‘to be transfigured’ and ‘to be transformed’ are the same word) in reference to Christians, and in both texts they indicate something that happens here and now: ‘Be transformed by the renewal of your minds.’ (Rom 12:2) In the second text Paul also explains how that will happen: ‘And all of you, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.'” (2 Cor 3;18)
The Transfiguration of Jesus is am image of what our body will look like when it shines in glory in Heaven. However, the Transfiguration of our body and soul being here and now. We are meant to experience the first fruits of the resurrection now. St Paul says, ‘We are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.”
There are so many examples of saints who experienced this glory that one example will suffice. In his biography of St Catherine of Sienna Bl Raymond of Capua writes that he was one morning offering mass and turned to give the blessing when he saw, ” saw that her face had become like an angel’s and was sending out bright rays of light.”
Cantalanessa writes, “What transfiguration do I mean? Above all, the eschatological transfiguration that will happen at the end of time, when the Lord Jesus, as the apostle says, ‘will transform the body of our humiliation so that it may be conformed to the body of his glory.’ (Phil 3:21) According to Proclus of Constantinople, ‘Christ was transfigured to show us the future transfiguration of the our nature and his second coming.’ This concept is also present in the West. The transfiguration, writes Saint Leo the Great, occurred ‘so that the Church might know what sort of exchange the whole body of Christ was to be given, and that the members might promise to themselves a sharing in the honor of the one who had shone as their head.’ Even in antiquity there were some who saw not only our final transformation but also of the whole cosmos prefigured in the Transfiguration. On Tabor, says Anastasius of Sinai, Christ ‘transfigured all of creation into his image and recreated it in an even more sublime way.'”
May we look at Jesus. As we look at Jesus He is transforming our body from one degree of glory to the next, for this come from the Holy Spirit. May we experience the first fruits of the Transfiguration here and now. When does Heaven begin? Heaven begins today.