Today’s readings are all about signs and promises, signs requested, signs given, and signs difficult to discern.
A sign misunderstood, this time in the Transfiguration. The disciples are already struggling with the mission of Jesus as he tries to unfold it to them; in the previous chapter Jesus tells them they are right to call him Messiah but wrong in their expectation of what a Messiah will achieve. The disciples are uncomprehending of his description and while only Peter questioned, doesn’t mean the others clearly understood.
So how will the transfiguration affect them? Are the words spoken, act as God’s seal on all that Jesus has said? Or will God’s words merely approve what they believe to be their interpretation of what Jesus is all about? Might they be inclined to think that If God loves Jesus so much he will certainly make him victorious? There must have been a temptation to believe that God was on their side and to discount the picture that Jesus has been painting of the suffering servant.
After the resurrection, the story can take on a different perspective and taken in its proper perspective by the reality of Jesus life death and resurrection. They understand that God does indeed love and approve of everything that Jesus is and has done, and they can see the pattern their own mission must take and that it must follow the hard path to life, not the easy path to success.
The issue with living the paschal mystery is always to take theory and put it into practice! Peter responded practically. Christian living is about being touched by Jesus so that the fleeting moments of glory are made permanent in bettering the lives of others. We don’t build tents, we feed the hungry, clothed the naked, touch the downhearted, encourage the discouraged. In this way Christ touches others through us.
This is the sign!