This weeks Gospel is filled with Symbology, in the Old Testament God always appeared on the top of a mountain, Moses was tending his flock on the mountain when he encountered God in the burning bush and later received the ten commandments from God again on the top of the mountain. The prophet Elijah was told to go to the mountain and the Lord would pass by! If you ever read of a mountain in scripture you can bet that God is going to be making an appearance at some point soon. In today’s Gospel Jesus takes James, his brother John and Peter up a mountain (God alert) where they could be alone, whilst there Jesus changes before their eyes, ‘his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light.’ The Disciples caught a glimpse of the beautiful reality of Jesus, the Son of God, the divine reality that goes far beyond the physical reality. Now when God the Father makes an appearance in the form of a cloud which covers the mountain top with His bellowing voice saying “This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. Listen to him.” Their joy turns immediately to fear, they have seen Gods beauty but now they are confronted with Gods power.
I must admit that when I try and visualise the size and scale of creation I do tend to get a bit overawed and a bit scared! There is a great video here that gives a demonstration of the size of the universe, what sort of being could create all of this with just a thought!
It must have been a bit of an emotional roller coaster ride for the Disciples who followed Jesus, joy, love, awe, wonder, fear, terror, anger. But what is the message of the Gospel? The clue is in God the Fathers instruction to the Disciples, He says ‘This is my Son, listen to him.’ And then what was Jesus the Son’s instruction to the Disciples? He says “Stand up, do not be afraid.’
It’s good advice to us all, when we look in awe and wonder at creation we must remember that Jesus, the Son of God, the one who created everything tells us to stand up and not be afraid, everything is under His control.