Operation Transformation is where people try to change their lives by reforming their eating habits and by reshaping their neglected bodies. The high point comes when the scales points to weight loss and a brighter tomorrow.

The three disciples see Christ’s transformation on top of the mountain. In this moment they are drawn into the mystery of God’s splendour. Christ is robed in glory (cf. Psalm 93:1) but there is more. Moses and Elijah, the great prophets, speak. The day of Jerusalem will dawn in dark-shadow and humiliation when the glorified one will pass from life to death on the throne of a blood-stained wooden cross.  This is the paradox of the scene we look at with Peter, James and John; majesty and the looming passion. From this high mountain of God’s meeting with our amazed open eyes, we can gaze too with a sense of foreboding to the mountain of Calvary.

Jesus invites us, “if any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up my cross and follow me” (Mt 16:24). The shadow of the Lord’s death is actually a path to light and new life. The cross of Christ points the way to the great mountain of his resurrection (cf. Mt 28:18). In taking up his cross, the cross of faith, which involves dying to ourselves and climbing to the heights of God in prayer, giving and fasting this Lent, we can see in the near distance the joy of our reward; everlasting life. This is our journey to transformation. On this path of coming near the Lord, we can shine with the new clothing of purity and truth (cf. Lk 15:22), knowing that we are alight with God’s reflected glory.

The transfiguration draws us into the light of Christ to be transformed, to ascend the mountain of faith, to walk the way of Jesus’ passion, to die to ourselves and to look to the cross as the sign that leads us to God.  By seeing the face of God in Jesus, our own faces too are transformed.

In his message at the end of the Lenten retreat in Rome today, Pope Benedict XVI said:

“Many today are asking: Who will show us what is good? We can answer: those who reflect God’s light and face with their lives.”

(TG, 2013)