Have you ever experienced a moment in time when you knew you were in the presence of God? At such a moment, life completely stops, all your cares and worries vanish, and the world suddenly somehow makes sense. Most of all, you are overwhelmed by a certainty and trust that everything is “okay.” This must have been what the disciples felt when they witnessed the transfiguration of the Lord. They were among the divine, which was so incredible for mere mortal fishermen, that it was simply too much for their minds to comprehend.
“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.” (Luke 9:28–36)
Peter, along with James and John, was given a special glimpse of a meeting much bigger than himself, so he attempts to deal with it in a concrete way, honoring these glorified beings with the only skill he can contribute. It is essential in a life of faith to acknowledge these moments and give thanks for them, holding them close in our hearts to remember for the future. While these times are life-changing, they cannot last forever, and we all must return to reality. On one of my pilgrimages, as we were preparing to resume our daily lives, our priest reflected on the transfiguration, asking us to imagine what it must have been like walking down the mountain, how disorienting for the disciples. No matter how miraculous the experience, the reentry into reality will always be difficult. We will once again be confronted by doubt and fear, especially the doubt as to whether or not what we just experienced was actually real.
Although the walk down the mountain will always be a trial, I take heart that the harder the walk is, the more I can have faith that what I just went through really did happen. The account of the transfiguration gives us hope as believers and followers of Jesus Christ. After the transfiguration, only He remained with His disciples. This holds true for us as disciples today. Jesus Christ remains with us, ready to give us courage and to support us as we walk down the mountain and continue our everyday journeys in our daily lives.