Mysteries of Light - Thursday


Luke 9:28-35 

The Transfiguration

(Matthew 17:1-13; Mark 9:1-13; 2 Peter 1:16-21)

28 And it came to pass about eight days after these words, that he took Peter, and James, and John, and went up into a mountain to pray. 29 And whilst he prayed, the shape of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became white and glittering. 30 And behold two men were talking with him. And they were Moses and Elias, 31 Appearing in majesty. And they spoke of his decease that he should accomplish in Jerusalem. 32 But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep. And waking, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. 33A nd it came to pass, that as they were departing from him, Peter said to Jesus: Master, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias; not knowing what he said. 34 And as he spoke these things, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them; and they were afraid, when they entered into the cloud. 35 And a voice came out of the cloud, saying: This is my beloved Son; hear him. 36 And whilst the voice was uttered, Jesus was found alone. And they held their peace, and told no man in those days any of these things which they had seen.


The episodes in Christ’s life that we meditate upon in the Luminous Mysteries are those where Christ revealed His glory. In this Fourth Luminous Mystery, we meditate upon that very visible display when His face shone like the sun and His clothes became dazzling white (Matt 17:2). As His three closest disciples gazed upon His unveiled glory, He was accompanied by the two great Old Testament Saints, Moses and Elijah. To the Jewish people, these men were the “icons” of the entire Old Testament Scriptures – Moses, the Law; and Elijah, the Prophets. 

Peter, not knowing what to say, made the suggestion that three tents (or tabernacles) be erected – one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah (Mk 9:5-6). At this point, a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from heaven proclaimed “This is my Beloved Son; listen to Him!” (Mk 9:7). The disciples became so afraid that they fell to the ground; but Jesus came to them and touched them saying, “get up and do not be afraid”. When they looked up, they saw that Moses and Elijah had disappeared, and Jesus was standing alone before them.
One interpretation that the Church has given this passage is that the “disappearance” of Moses and Elijah was God’s way of saying that the Law and the Prophets are fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ (e.g. Lk 24:27). There was no need to make tabernacles for Moses and Elijah, because all that they had spoken about was fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ, when He made His tabernacle amongst men (see Jn 1:14 – where the word  translated as “dwelt” or “lived” is in fact means “to tent or tabernacle”).

It is interesting that the words spoken by the Father to the disciples were “Listen to Him!”; because just a few days prior, Jesus had prophesied His Passion and they would not believe Him (see Matt 16:21-22; Mk 8:31-32). The disciples overheard Moses and Elijah speaking to the Lord about His Passion (Lk 9:31). Now, the Father is basically saying to them: “You are prepared to listen to Moses and Elijah. There is one greater than Moses and Elijah here. Listen to Him!”
In the Second Luminous Mystery, Jesus revealed His glory through His first miracle, and we hear His Mother’s words “Do whatever He says”. Now, Jesus reveals His physical glory, and we hear His Father’s words “Listen to Him!”

If we listen to Jesus and do whatever He says, we can be sure that we will meet with persecution. After all, if the world persecuted Him, we can expect that it will persecute us. Moses and Elijah spoke with Jesus about His Passion. Listening to Jesus means that we will somehow be called to share in His Passion, for He tells us that if we want to be His disciples, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him (Matt 16:24). But that is not where the story ends. After His Passion, Jesus rose again in glory – and this is His promise to us – that if we suffer with Him, we will be glorified with Him (Rom 8:17).

Our Father

1. About eight days after saying these things, he took Peter and John and James, and went up the mountain to 
pray.  (Lk 9:28)  - Hail Mary....

2. While he prayed, his face changed and his clothing became dazzling white.  (Lk 9:29)  - Hail Mary....

3. And, behold, there were two men talking to him, Moses and Elijah.  (Lk 9:30)  - Hail Mary....

4. Who appeared in glory, and spoke of his death which he should accomplish in Jerusalem.  (Lk 9:31)
Hail Mary....

5. Peter and his companions were overcome with sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory, and the 
two men that stood with him.  (Lk 9:32)  - Hail Mary....

6. As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good we are here; let us make three 
tents; one for you, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah."  (Lk 9:33)  - Hail Mary...

7. While he was still speaking, there came a cloud and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened as 
they entered into the cloud.  (Lk 9:34)  - Hail Mary....

8. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, "This is my chosen Son; listen to him."  (Lk 9:35)
Hail Mary....

9. After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone.  (Lk 9:36)  - Hail Mary....

10. They fell silent and did not tell anyone at this time what they had seen.  (Lk 9:36)  - Hail Mary....

Glory be to the Father.

O My Jesus, forgive us our sins..


In the Transfiguration, another moment of supernatural light bursts through and shatters the ordinary appearances of business-as-usual. Jesus allows them to see the dazzling light of glory, and to hear the Father’s voice attesting to his Son. If Jesus’ baptism prefigured his Passion and Death, the Transfiguration prefigures his Resurrection into glory. In the shining face of Jesus, the new Moses, the apostles see the glory that will be waiting for them too, once the sufferings of this life are through. Peter wanted to set up tents on the mountain, but he had it all backwards. They were not meant to dwell in that experience; it was meant to dwell in them, as a memory that would travel with them like a torch to enlighten the hard times ahead.

In our lives too, sometimes we find ourselves nostalgic for our own mountain-top experiences, wishing we could return to bask in that blissful glow. But like Peter, we’ve got it all backwards. Those moments are given to us as an encouraging memory to spur us on in hard times, as a glimpse of the greater joy that lies ahead of us. In this mystery, Mary can help us remember that no matter how deep and shadowed the valleys—discouragement, depression, confusion, loneliness, anxiety— the light of heaven is real and there is much to look forward to. The best is yet to come.

The Third Luminous Mystery - Proclamation of the Kingdom of God The Fifth Luminous Mystery – The Institution of the Eucharist
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