The glory that Jesus revealed on Mount Tabor allowed his three closest disciples to glimpse the glory that belongs to him as the divine Son and that his Sacred Humanity will receive when he is exalted to the right hand of the Father.
It is not surprising, therefore, that the liturgy of the Church offers us as today's first reading the text from the prophet Daniel, in which we see how glory is conferred on a mysterious "Son of man". It is a prophecy of Jesus and the glory that his humanity would eventually receive.
This is the feast we celebrate today, which gives us a glimpse of the glory of which we will be even more splendid witnesses in heaven if we remain faithful. Jesus gave his three disciples this vision to prepare and strengthen them for the scandal of his Passion.
The three men who saw Him glorious on Mount Tabor would see Him weep in anguish in the garden of Gethsemane. If we are willing to remain faithful in the bad times (not that these three disciples were really faithful in the garden, but they were later), God will glorify us in heaven, where we will be witnesses and partakers of Christ's glory.
Jesus briefly lifted the curtain to show his glory and also gave a glimpse of it to two of the greatest figures of the Old Testament, Moses and Elijah. In their sojourn in the land of the dead, awaiting the unknown day of their deliverance, they too needed to know the saving value of Jesus' Passion, his "exodus," his journey beyond death to conquer it. They would have returned to tell their fellow sojourners that their long sleep would soon be over and that Jesus would take them to heaven.
We all need encouragement in difficult times and that is what Jesus offers us today, although in a certain sense all feasts, all Sundays, offer us that encouragement. Every Sunday is a new Resurrection, a foretaste of the glory and triumph that await faithful souls. Peter was certainly encouraged.
So much so that he wanted to prolong the experience by building three tents, one for Jesus, one for Moses and one for Elijah, as if to continue "camping" in this heavenly place.
This experience would linger with him so powerfully that years later he would write about it again in his second epistle (today's second reading): "This same voice, transmitted from heaven, is the one we heard while we were with him on the holy mountain....".
It talks about seeing the "sublime glory" and of hearing the Father proclaim Jesus as "my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased". A big part of heaven is to share in Jesus' own sonship, to be sons, daughters, of God in him.
And the more we live our own divine filiation, the more - guided by the Holy Spirit - we appreciate God as Father already now on earth, the more we begin to share the joy of heaven.
Homily on the readings of the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
The priest Luis Herrera Campo offers its nanomiliaA short one-minute reflection for these Sunday readings.