By Sister M. Sarita Vasquez
Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.“(Luke 9:35)
It was not unusual for Jesus to climb mountains. Mountains were a favorite place of his. He went to the mountain to be alone, for it was there that he communicated best with his beloved Abba and there that he found clarity and strength.
Today, he is climbing Mt. Tabor and has invited Peter, James and John to accompany him. Unexpectedly, he looks in my direction and beckons me to come along. Peter, James and John look at one another with raised eyes, yet do not question the Master. I am undaunted, for the thrill of being asked to go with Jesus is enough to set my heart afire.
We are silent on the journey, taking our cues from Jesus. Once on the summit, Jesus moves almost immediately into prayer and we quietly join him. I watch Jesus, who is solemn and soon loses himself in communication with his God. It is grace to behold him as he gives himself over to deep communion with the God he loves and whose will is his all.
Time stands still for Peter, James, John and me. We sense the profound sacredness of the moment and watch in awe. I bow low. A great sigh of wonderment escapes from the three beside me. Jesus is transfigured before my eyes. He is radiant as the morning sun and all aglow, dazzling white like sunlight on snow. His face is beautiful, and I am overcome with a sense that I am looking at Goodness. An inexpressible joy rises in me, and I am overwhelmed. I behold God’s glory shining in, through and about the Master. As I watch, I am drawn into the glory, into the holy, and in that instant, I know myself to be glorious and holy.
Suddenly, two men are with Jesus, one on either side of him. They enter into a serious conversation and words come within my hearing: suffering, death, glorification. I do not grasp the fullness of their meaning. Then Peter speaks. “Master,” he says, “it is wonderful for us to be here. Let us make three tents—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” Even as Peter speaks, a cloud covers us, and we become afraid, because we are on holy ground. A voice comes from the cloud saying, “This is my son, the Chosen one. Listen to him.”
Today, as I sit in the shade of this olive tree, I hear again the invitation and call: “Listen to him.” I have listened long to his voice speaking words of God’s amazing love. I have listened to the experience on the mountain and realized that I share in the wondrous glory of my Jesus, as does all Creation. I listen to see this glory all around me, not as I saw it on the mountain, but as I know it here and now in every creature, all matter, “imbued with his radiant presence.” I listen and I am listening. I am forever grateful that Jesus invited me to the mountain.