In today's Gospel, Mark says that Jesus was "transfigured." The Greek word that is translated "transfigure" is a word that means "change". As a matter of fact, it is the word "metamorphosis"-a Greek word used in the English language.
That specific word is used on only two other occasions in the New Testament, both times by Paul, and both times in reference to a change - not in Jesus, but in us:
~~~In the letter to the Romans, Paul says, "Do not model yourselves on the behavior of the world around you, but let your behavior change, modeled by your new mind." (12:2)
~~~In the second letter to the Corinthians, Paul says,"And we, with our unveiled faces reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord, all grew brighter and brighter as we are changed into the image that we reflect; this is the work of the Lord who is Spirit,"(IICor.3:18)
My own transfiguration...
Sometimes we can look at the events of the Gospel the same way we watch television. We are spectators. We watch what is happening to someone else on TV, and there is no link to our own life. It is far away. The events of Jesus' life are far away -- almost 20 centuries separate us from the events and from the cities where they happened.
But the Gospels weren't written to be just interesting stories of exemplary incidents in the life of someone else. And so, the Transfiguration of Jesus is not just an interesting incident in the life of Jesus. The event described in the Gospel is a moment when the brightness and beauty of spiritual realities that have been there all the time break through to the surface.
The spiritual realities are meant to be part of us- even though they will not usually break through in a spectacular scene like the Transfiguration.
We are to "change" as Jesus changed, to allow his Spirit to burn within us with the brightness that was in him- a brightness that shines through in our love, in our smile, in our forgiveness, in our understanding.
But this "transfiguration" of ourselves into a beautiful person is tough, won a step at a time. I have to work my way there. That's why we have Lent.