I distinctly remember the Gospel on the weekend that the EDSA Revolution of 1986 started. It was the story of the Transfiguration. There we were at Gate 5 of Camp Aguinaldo and a priest saying mass right there and then. And it inspired me no end how EDSA became a Transfiguration experience for the Filipino nation. Here is one people, often divided and bickering, always hopeful yet forever seemingly continually stuck in a rut, coming together in peace and prayer to bring about change and win their freedom back. This peaceful transition would serve as a pattern for other similar People Power Revolutions in Eastern European countries. It was a political event but for many of us it was also a spiritual experience. It was the shining moment for us Filipinos.
God often blesses us with such Transfiguration experiences. I have had several and the one that stands out is the Marriage Encounter Anabelle and I went through with other couples who would eventually become lifelong friends. After more than ten years of marriage, ours was a happy and contented one. It was not perfect but it was more than what I had bargained for going into it. A lot more. When a friend suggested the Marriage Encounter, my first reaction was “We don’t really need it.” But we are glad now that we did then. During that weeked in the hills of Antipolo, in our transfiguration as a couple, we realized that everything was gift; that God was in control; that He keeps on telling us, “You are my beloved.” And ever since, we have always been more keenly aware of God’s presence in our marriage, in our lives and in our family.
Yesterday, we had some family friends coming for a visit. They have two sons, Okir and Inaro. It was a happy event for me as I saw the transformation of Jonathan and Jane. Because they are the ‘babies’ in the family, they and we are used to them being taken care of. But the moment they saw Okir and Inaro, I immediately saw the change in them – from being taken care of to caring for others. They shared their toys; they played games with these two younger kids; they included them in their activities. I have never seen Jonathan as patient and as pleasant as when he was interacting with Okir. And Jane was ever solicitous of Inaro. Kathleen and Martin have done well bringing up their two kids. They have open hearts that are made for sharing, caring and loving.
Metamorphosis is a better translation for the Greek word for transfiguration. It reminds me of a caterpillar being changed into a beautiful butterfly. It is metamorphosis as Jonathan and Jane grow up from being taken care of to being able to care. It is metamorphosis that changed my perspective on God’s presence in our lives. It is metamorphosis that united a fractious people in that one glorious moment in time. I often try to know and understand God better. But He is just too infinite for me to wrap my feeble mind around Him. Instead, I end being wrapped in His presence. I can only feel Him working in the changes and metamorphoses and transfigurations He creates in my life, in our lives.
I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
~ Psalm 116
Jesus took Peter, James, and John
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them,
and his clothes became dazzling white,
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses,
and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Rabbi, it is good that we are here!
Let us make three tents:
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them;
from the cloud came a voice,
“This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”
Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone
but Jesus alone with them.
As they were coming down from the mountain,
he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone,
except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
So they kept the matter to themselves,
questioning what rising from the dead meant.