Figure of God and of the Disfigured
Even without a figure that would draw us, Jesus is still the epiphany of God.
The figure of Jesus makes appear above (epiphanein in Greek), that is, on the surface, the mystery of God. But it is hard for us who are still in the world to welcome Jesus.
The ambivalence of the people shows Jesus is hard to figure out. He leaves them wondering.
On the one hand, his fellow citizens ask where he gets his wisdom and mighty deeds. On the other hand, they claim they know his family very well. So, they can hardly come up with a decision, except that his warning prompts it.
So, in the end, Jesus’ own people does not receive him; the figure he cuts falls short.
Those who scorn the prophet from their own house do not figure among the childlike.
The Father reveals to the childlike what he hides from the wise. Such is his gracious will. His choice of the childlike is not due, then, to merits or comely figure but to grace.
And undoubtedly, Jesus chooses Peter, James and John, but not, for worldly reasons of merits. He chooses them because of their littleness.
Like children, the three are slow to understand. Peter does not understand the prediction of the death of Jesus. But the thoughtlessness and lack of understanding of children are striking in the ambition of the Zebedees.
So, it seems the chosen disciples are more worldly than others. More than anyone else, they need transformation by renewal of mind. In that way, they will know the will of God.
So, then, it does them good to go up a high mountain and have an other-worldly experience. They will hear there that the one who predicts his death is the center of the law and the prophets.
In effect, they learn that Jesus is the Son of Man, to whom kingship belongs. And he does not stop to be so although he shows himself in our mortal flesh.
Later, the disciples see no one but Jesus. Does this mean we follow clever myths if we do not grasp that the glory of Jesus implies shame?
But better, yes, to tell no one the greatness of Jesus unless we speak, too, of his debasement. And to treat our being prone to stay put, make tents and leave those representing Jesus (SV.EN XI:26), we have the Eucharist. As we recall the death of Christ, grace fills us and we receive a pledge of future glory.
Lord Jesus, make us recognize you as the figure of God, though unrecognizable now in the disfigured. May we thus behold forever the wondrous mystery of God.
6 August 2017
Dn 7, 9-10. 13-14; 2 Pt 1, 16-19; Mt 17, 1-9