Last Sunday we were led to the desert of desolation. A harsh reality of our earthly pilgrimage. It is a desolate place with no food or water, no shade from the sun. It is an environment suited for the tempter to shake us from our faith, hope, and love of God. Jesus showed us how to weather experiences like these, through contemplation on the Word of God.
This Sunday, Jesus takes us out of the desert to a mountain, albeit briefly. He leads the disciples up the mountain, alone. Reaching the top he steps apart to pray. In that moment “He was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him” (Matthew 17:1-9). A moment of consolation comes through devotion in prayer and obedience.
We too can be transfigured through endurance in faith, hope, and love. Everyone’s experience is different. Some feel the reassuring embrace of the Lord as they bear their cross. Others discern where they must go or must do on their pilgrimage. Perhaps you, my dear reader, have had other experiences.
I pulled away two nuances after hearing this Gospel reading again. First, mountain top experiences come after the climb. I can’t imagine Jesus and his disciples having an easy time walking up a mountain in sandals on a hot day. The alliteration sticks. Second, Jesus and the disciples drew apart from the crowds and their friends to spend time in prayer. Moments like this require silence, contemplation, and respite.
So must we. This week and every week let us find moments of solitude to spend time with the Lord.