I always have trouble trying to understand the gospel story of Jesus’ transfiguration. If you are like me, then maybe these comments by Saint Ephrem will be helpful to you…. And to me!
Saint Ephrem (c.306-373), deacon in Syria, Doctor of the Church Sermon for the Transfiguration 1,3-4
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased”
He leads them up on a high mountain to show them the glory of his divinity and to let them know that he was Israel’s Savior, as revealed by his prophets…They saw him eat and drink, get tired and rest, sleep, suffer anguish to the point that his sweat became like drops of blood, all things that did not seem to have much to do with his divine nature, but only with his human nature. This is why he leads them up on a high mountain so that the Father may call him “my Son” and show them that he really was his Son and that he was God. He leads them up on a high mountain and shows them his royalty before suffering, his power before dying, his glory before being insulted and his honor before undergoing ignominy. In this way, when he will be captured and crucified, his apostles will understand that he did not undergo this because of weakness, but to consent and willingly for the salvation of the world. He leads them up on a high mountain and shows them the glory of his divinity, before his resurrection. In this way, when he will rise from the dead in the glory of his divinity, his disciples will testify that he did not receive this glory as a reward for having suffered – as if he needed to, but that this glory belonged to him long before the centuries, with the Father and in the Father as he himself will say as he approaches his voluntary Passion “Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began” (Jn 17,5).