Gospel Mark 9:2-10
This is my Son, the Beloved
Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone by themselves. There in their presence he was transfigured: his clothes became dazzlingly white, whiter than any earthly bleacher could make them. Elijah appeared to them with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus. Then Peter spoke to Jesus: ‘Rabbi,’ he said ‘it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ He did not know what to say; they were so frightened. And a cloud came, covering them in shadow; and there came a voice from the cloud, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.’ Then suddenly, when they looked round, they saw no one with them any more but only Jesus.
As they came down from the mountain he warned them to tell no one what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. They observed the warning faithfully, though among themselves they discussed what ‘rising from the dead’ could mean.
What strikes me in this Gospel is Jesus’ presence. God reveals Jesus transcending time. The ancient figures of Moses and Elijah are proof of this.
Jesus also transcends vision, showing us that there is more than meets the eye in all things. Even though he has taken Peter, James and John up a mountain where there is bound to be a better view of things and added to this, they are away from all distractions where ‘they could be alone by themselves’. God reveals that they are truly not alone. The Gospel writer tries to find words for these heavenly sights and sounds that they witness – ‘whiter than any earthly bleacher’, ‘a voice from the cloud’.
Quantum physics reveals to us today that there is more than meets the eye. We are all deeply connected through energy, time and space. Time is a human construct. Our vision is limited to a particular spectrum. When we look at a star, it is light years away and could possibly have already died and formed other stars and we won’t know it by seeing it. We are part of creation from the very beginning being formed from the same elements that evolved from the big bang. How can we not be connected on all levels? Levels and dimensions that we have not yet imagined.
Through the ages, the mystics have been given glimpses of these dimensions through visions. Mary Ward described many visions to her companions. Three foundational ones ‘the Glory Vision’, ‘the Take the Same...’ and ‘the Just Soul’ are her most famous. She too struggled with words to describe these realms of Mystery that she experienced. Yet, like the disciples, she too came down from the mountain of these ‘wonderful’ experiences further in love with God and entered into life loving all she encountered more and more deeply.
In my prayer, I enter this Gospel scene with my imagination. What do I see, hear and feel? I stay with this, keeping my eye on Jesus and noticing the movements of my heart throughout.