As Jesus prayed, the aspect of his face was changed
and his clothing became brilliant as lightning.
three chosen disciples Jesus went up the mountain. Then he
was transfigured by a wonderful light that made even his
clothes seem to shine. Moses and Elijah stood by him and
spoke with him of how he was going to complete his task on
earth by dying in Jerusalem.
In other words, they spoke of
the mystery of his incarnation, and of his saving passion
upon the cross.
For the law of Moses and the teaching of
the holy prophets clearly foreshadowed the mystery of Christ.
The law portrayed it by types and symbols inscribed on tablets.
prophets in many ways foretold that in his own time he would
appear, clothed in human nature, and that for the salvation
of all our race he would not refuse to suffer death upon
The presence of Moses and Elijah, and their speaking together, was meant to show
unmistakably that the law and the prophets were the attendants of our Lord Jesus
He was their master, whom they had themselves pointed out in advance
in prophetic words that proved their perfect harmony with one another. The message
of the prophets was in no way at variance with the precepts of the law.
Moses and Elijah did not simply appear in silence; they spoke of how Jesus was
to complete his task by dying in Jerusalem, they spoke of his passion and cross,
and of the resurrection that would follow.
Thinking no doubt that the time for
the kingdom of God had already come, Peter would gladly have remained on the
mountain. He suggested putting up three tents, hardly knowing what he was saying.
it was not yet time for the end of the world; nor was it in this present time
that the hopes of the saints would be fulfilledthose hopes founded
on Paul’s promise that Christ "would transform our lowly
of his glorious body." Only the initial stage of the divine plan had as yet
Until its completion was it likely that Christ, who came on
earth for love of the world, would give up his wish to die for it? For his submitting
to death was the world’s salvation, and his resurrection was death’s destruction.
As well as the vision of Christ’s glory, wonderful beyond all description, something
else occurred which was to serve as a vital confirmation, not only of the disciples’s
faith, but of ours as well.
From a cloud on high came the voice of God the Father
saying: "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him."
(Homily 9 on the Transfiguration: PG 77, 1011-1014)
Cyril of Alexandria (d. 444)
succeeded his uncle Theophilus as patriarch in 412. Until
428 the pen of this brilliant theologian was employed in
exegesis and polemics against the Arians; after that date
it was devoted almost entirely to refuting the Nestorian
heresy. The teaching of Nestorius was condemned in 431 by
the Council of Ephesus at which Cyril presided, and Mary’s
title, Mother of God, was solemnly recognized. The incarnation
is central to Cyril’s theology. Only if Christ is consubstantial
with the Father and with us can he save us, for the meeting
ground between God and ourselves is the flesh of Christ.
Through our kinship with Christ, the Word made flesh, we
become children of God, and share in the filial relation
of the Son with the Father.