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Let us look at the story of transfiguration from another perspective. People around Jesus expected that Jesus would change their situation and living conditions and he would change the world, which in their imaginations, was what the Messiah would do. That was in a way, even the devil wanted him to do: change the stones of this world into bread; interrupt the laws of gravity and become famous; rule the world as no one ever ruled before. That is what his disciples also wanted him to do.
In the gospel of today we see Jesus taking Peter, James and John aside. He brought them up the mountain and heaven opened, Moses and Elijah were seen. Their expectation would have grown almost wild. Is it the time? The three must have been sure it was about to start, a totally new world.
Suddenly the change did start, but not in the sky or earth, nothing around them changed. It was Jesus who started to change. It was he who started to shine. In this way he made it clear to them and we who read this report what should happen to this world: We should change and start to shine. He assures us that we too can change and shine.
There was a carpet maker in Kashmir who made exquisite carpets. After making the carpet he used to bring it to the market to sell. Every time he sold it for 100 Rupees (Indian currency) and he easily found eager buyers. Once a person who knew the value of it asked him, “Why don’t you ask for more price for such a beautiful carpet?”
“Is there a number higher than 100 Rupees?” asked the surprised man. His conception limited his awareness and action.
It happens with us also, who are made in the image of God. That’s why Jesus took his disciples to the mountain, from the world they are accustomed to, out of the world they knew very well.
St. Paul assures us, “He will transfigure our lowly body, making it like his own body, radiant in glory.” While he shone, everything around him picked up that shine.
Change and shine, everything around us will follow.
Fr. John Panamthottam