The Metamorphosis of Jesus Christ

Writes Taylor Marshall:

When I was a Protestant college student traveling in Greece, I came across an Orthodox Church entitled “Metamorphosis of Christ.”

I thought, “What a strange name for a church! The metamorphosis? What?”

Later, I realized that metamorphosis is the Greek word that the New Testament uses to describe the “transfiguration” of Christ on Mount Tabor.

Here’s the Greek:

καὶ μετεμορφώθη ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν, καὶ ἔλαμψεν τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ὡς ὁ ἥλιος, τὰ δὲ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο λευκὰ ὡς τὸ φῶς.

“And he was transfigured {μετεμορφώθη} before them. And his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow.”
(Matthew 17:2, D-R)

The prefix “meta” usually means “change” and “morphe” means form. So literally, Christ “transformed” before them. His divine glory became manifest. Why? From this point in His sacred ministry, Christ spoke of His impending passion and death. This sneak peek at His divine glory served as a sign to His three closest disciples: Peter, James, and John.

Often God does the same thing for us. Before the Father calls us to an act of suffering or service, He often gives us a moment or time of glory, miracles, or signs. This is meant to embolden us during the difficult times which may come later.


Transfiguration of the Jesus

06 August is the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord:

Jesus took Peter, James, and John his  brother, and led them up a high mountain by  themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to  them, conversing with him.

Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am  well pleased; listen to him.”

When the disciples heard this, they fell  prostrate and were very much afraid. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

As they were coming down from the mountain,   Jesus charged them, “Do not tell the vision to anyone  until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

– St Matthew 17:1-9.

I just love the way St Luke puts it:

… they saw His glory… (9:32) .

It was St Thomas Aquinas who considered the Transfiguration ‘the greatest miracle’ for it complemented baptism and further showed the perfection of life in Heaven. That is something really to look forward to…

Many have identify Mount Tabor as the site of the Transfiguration:


Why Is There a Giant Obelisk In the Vatican?

(CNS) – Hidden among the paving stones of St. Peter’s Square there is a simple clock and calendar. All you need is a sunny day.

The 83-foot stone obelisk in the middle of the square acts as a sundial that can accurately indicate midday and the two solstices thanks to a granite meridian and marble markers embedded in the square.

Pope Benedict XVI proudly pointed out the hidden timepiece during an Angelus address he gave on the winter solstice a few years ago.

“The great obelisk casts its shadow in a line that runs along the paving stones toward the fountain beneath this window and in these days, the shadow is at its longest of the year,” he told pilgrims from the window of his library…

The pope, in his solstice soliloquy, reminded people that the church has always been keenly interested in astronomy to help guide and establish fundamental liturgical days and the times of prayer such as the Angelus, which is recited in the morning, at noon and in the evening. While sunrise and sunset are easy to figure out, sundials could accurately tell midday, he said.

Even when early mechanical clocks were introduced, they were a luxury item for a few and not always accurate, so using the sun to mark true noon was an important backup…

For more on how the sun and moon guided prayer times and liturgy there, click here.