In today’s Gospel, we go up to the mountain with Peter, John, and James. There we see Jesus “transfigured,” speaking with Moses and Elijah about his “exodus.”
The Greek word “exodus” means “departure.” But the word is chosen deliberately here to stir our remembrance of the Israelites’ flight from Egypt. By his death and resurrection, Jesus will lead a new Exodus — liberating not only Israel but every race and people; not from bondage to Pharaoh, but from slavery to sin and death.
He will lead all mankind, not to the territory promised to Abraham in today’s First Reading, but to the heavenly commonwealth that Paul describes in today’s Epistle. Moses, the giver of God’s law, and the great prophet Elijah, were the only Old Testament figures to hear the voice and see the glory of God atop a mountain (see Exodus 24:15–18; 1 Kings 19:8–18).
Today’s scene closely resembles God’s revelation to Moses, who also brought along three companions and whose face also shone brilliantly (see Exodus 24:1; 34:29). But when the divine cloud departs in today’s Gospel, Moses and Elijah are gone. Only Jesus remains.
He has revealed the glory of the Trinity — the voice of the Father, the glorified Son, and the Spirit in the shining cloud. Jesus fulfills all that Moses and the prophets had come to teach and show us about God (see Luke 24:27).
He is the “chosen One” promised by Isaiah (see Isaiah 42:1; Luke 23:35), the “prophet like me” that Moses had promised (see Deuteronomy 18:15; Acts 3:22–23; 7:37). Far and above that, He is the Son of God (see Psalm 2:7; Luke 3:21–23).
”Listen to Him,” the Voice tells us from the cloud. If, like Abraham, we put our faith in his words, one day we, too, will be delivered into “the land of the living” that we sing of in today’s Psalm. We will share in his Resurrection, as Paul promises, our lowly bodies glorified like his.
Scott Hahn is founder of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, stpaulcenter.com.
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