Opening address by the Prior of Bose

The Christological Importance of the Event of the Transfiguration

After this detailed reading of the account of the Transfiguration in the Synoptic Gospels, I would like to conclude by simply making plain its message. First of all, to contemplate the Transfiguration means to understand more profoundly the event of Christ’s baptism. The word of God reveals the identity of Jesus: he is the Son of God who has to make his exodus/decease, that is his passion-death-resurrection. At the same time, the event of the Transfiguration announces what will happen in Jerusalem, when at the time of the cross the centurion will confess: “Verily this man is the Son of God!” (Mk 15.39; Mt 27.34). Indeed, the event of the Transfiguration is a memorial of baptism and an oracle of the cross, and the central position assigned to it by the evangelists indicates this very nature of memorial and prophecy, of fulfilment of what was said at baptism and anticipation of what will come in the resurrection and the parousia.
But the Transfiguration is also a mystery of light, which illuminates the entire body (Israel and the Church; Moses Elijah and the disciples) together with the Godhead. In fact the First Pact is a testimony and Jesus interprets the First Pact; the disciples in turn will receive Jesus, receive the testimony of the Scriptures and receive the charge of the Father in view of hearing the Son. There is no biblical image more efficient to marrate the unity of faith in the two Testaments, the centrality of Jesus the Messiah, the fullness of the revelation in him, his being one sole body for the faithful who in the Old Testament were waiting for the Messiah and in the New one they confess him and preach him.
Finally, the Transfiguration is the mystery of transformation: our body and this creation are invited to transfigure, to become “other”; our miserable body will become a body of glory (cf. Phil 3.21), and “the creation that groaneth and travileth in pain”(cf. Rom 8.22) will know its transformation into a “new heaven and a new earth” (Rev 21.1). What happened on Mount Thabor in Jesus Christ will happen for all the faithful and for the entire cosmos at the end of history…Waiting for this day, it remains for us to contemplate, as far as we are able, “the face of Christ resplendent with the glory of God” (cf. 2Cor 3.18). in that way, in thy light, Lord, we shall see the light (cf. Ps 36.10)!

Enzo Bianchi