The Chosen Son

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus tells a parable about the end of the age. When time comes to an end, the angels will come to separate the children of the kingdom from the children of the evil one. At the

For Sunday, August 6th, 2023


Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up a mountain to pray. While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But he did not know what he was saying. While he was still speaking, a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.” After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. They fell silent and did not at that time tell anyone what they had seen.

Luke 9:28b-36


Jesus went up a mountain to pray, and he brought Peter, James, and John with him. These three men were among Jesus’s closest and most trustworthy friends. St. Hilary of Poitiers (d. 367) interprets this event allegorically, saying, “By the three disciples who were taken apart is shown the future election of the people who were to come from a threefold origin: Shem, Ham, and Japheth” (Commentary on Matthew, 186) Thus, just as the world would be reborn through Noah’s offspring, the Church would be born through Jesus’s apostles. Ultimately, Peter, James, and John were given the tremendous gift of witnessing Jesus’s glory to strengthen their faith for their impending trials.

Jesus revealed his glory when his “face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white.” It must have been both dazzling and blinding to look at. Similarly, in Exodus, “the glory of the Lord was seen as a consuming fire on the top of [Mt. Sinai]” (Exodus 24:17). Both on Mt. Sinai and on Mt. Tabor, the glory of God is seen as a blinding light.

St. Luke asserts that the disciples overhear Moses and Elijah speaking to Jesus about “his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.” This account is slightly different from the other Gospel accounts since they do not include the details of what they spoke about (see Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8). St. Luke is going a step further than the other evangelists and directly connecting Moses and Jesus by identifying Christ as the prophet-like Moses (see Deuteronomy 18:15-19).

The three persons of the blessed Trinity are revealed during the transfiguration. The Father speaks aloud, and the cloud of the Spirit overshadows them. Again, the cloud is reminiscent of Moses on Mt. Sinai (see Exodus 24:15-18). Here, Jesus both embodies the prophet-like Moses, and he far surpasses the Old Testament prophecy. For example, God tells Moses:

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kindred and will put my words into the mouth of the prophet; the prophet shall tell them all that I command. Anyone who will not listen to my words which the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will hold accountable for it. (Deuteronomy 18:18-19).

But Jesus is not merely the mouthpiece of God; he is the Word of God made man, and the Father commands us to “listen to him.”

When the Father revealed himself on the mountain, the disciples “fell silent.” In your prayer today, silently reflect on Jesus’s identity and on the goodness of the most holy Trinity in your life.

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