The Gospel of the Transfiguration is a lesson on the Mass as well as a figure of the Mass. It teaches us the purpose of our Lenten work.
The mystical Christ now fasts forty days and thereby receives strength for a victorious onslaught against the devil. In all things the members follow the Head.
But the Gospels do not merely give instruction: they are spiritual dramas, i.e., they portray in symbol and express in sign what the Holy Sacrifice effects in actuality. In the Mass, Christ appears, the transfigured Christ who “sits at the right hand of the Father.” To be sure we can see Him only with the eyes of faith… Moses and Elias also have roles, for the Law and the prophets bear witness to the fact that the Holy Sacrifice is the fulfillment of all they prefigured and prophesied. Moses and Elias speak of the Lord’s death, an event that is being realized before our eyes in the Holy Mass. Like Peter we stand on the mystic mount of transfiguration and say, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.”
Nevertheless, we are not merely witnesses of the transfiguration, through Holy Communion we are sharers in it. Christ here says to us: "I shall lead you to holiness and transfiguration like that in which I Myself stand before you." By means of the Eucharist we are helping to build the tabernacle, heaven’s eternal temple, in which, with Christ, Moses, and Elias we shall dwell forever in unity and bliss.
St. Peter experienced spiritual night on Mt. Olivet, and the radiance of the transfiguration on Tabor. Through the long night of repentance he watched with bitter tears, but he also experienced transfiguration by a martyr’s death. May he pray that we will enjoy Easter spiritually transfigured while yet on earth and then in heaven.
Rev. Fr. P. Parsch, 1958, adapted and abridged.