Sun on our faces
On a foggy day even at midday it is hard to see the sun, but it would never occur to anyone that it is hard to see the sun because it is turned off or weakened. The sun is the sun, powerful and beautiful as ever, but the fog can obscure it. On a foggy day there is no need to turn the sun on, we must simply wait for the mist to dissipate. Only God, when he looks at us, can see our being shine completly lit up by His own light despite any fog. Only God can see beyond and inside of us; God sees everything. Jesus did not come to change the nature of man, He did not come to disparage man's limitations, to judge and condemn him for his darkness; instead He came to clear out the fog that so deceives us so terribly.
The fog that obscures our beauty is made of challenges, fear, guilt, wounds, anger, ignorance, laziness, conceit, and arrogance. The fog that shadows our divine nature is so thick and dense that it makes us invisible to ourselves and darkens our beauty, the beauty of our being, of the creative act which we are gift of. Not being able to see our splendor through the thick fog of our fears and failures inevitably leads us to self-doubt and therefore to defiance and unhappiness. Not being able to enjoy our person is the sure and perfect way to never being able to like anyone or to having peaceful and effective relations with others.
On the mountain Jesus's face became something else, because the essence of that face is something else. Actually Jesus did not change His appearance, but He returned to his original appearance, at least to the extent to whigh his friends' eyes could bear. The dazzling splendor, so difficult to describe in the text of the Gospel, is the amazing splendor that belongs to Jesus' essence, although clouded by the earthly appearance through which He showed himself to us. We are so used to seeing ourselves and others every day in the fog that we are unable to imagine the dazzling splendor that is inside every person created in the image and likeness of God.
Light seems stranger than darkness to us, misery more normal than wellness, hospitality more unusual than indifference.
People often look at one another, or more precisely they want to be looked at, but they cannot see themselves in their true essence, they cannot see the splendor of their souls. People get used to the ugly, the decadent, to mental misery, poverty, ignorance, slavery. If human beings do not learn to look at themselves in their original divine beauty, they will become ever more accustomed to degradation, poverty, scarcity. The person who does not know he/she is beautiful, immortal, a beloved son/daughter of God will not be able to form anything besides poor, unhappy, aggressive, conceited, limited desires. Jesus knows that much of the world's poverty cannot be abolished by the generous donations of the rich, but by offering the good news to the poor, the liberating insight that they are not poor in the eyes of God and that even they can desire and love a different life full of beauty and wellness. The slave needs not only to see his chains loosened, but to be inspired by the beauty of freedom.
Every word in the Gospel is a sweet invitation, an inspiration full of grace which helps man to emerge from the fog that makes him so blind, deaf, inadequate and petty toward each of his desires. The fog is dense for everyone and everywhere, but beyond the fog of our difficulties, pettiness, and our frequent, repeated debts against love, there is the sun of our true faces and hearts that God has given us. Jesus changed his appearance, His face became something else, it became what God's face is and always will be on earth: the most lovable, beautiful, graceful, powerful, charming, attractive, handsome, fascinating, solemn face upon which a human being has ever laid eyes.
Jesus is transfigured and He shows His face to a few of His friends, He shows Himself before the fog of betrayal, the fog of persecution and arrest, the fog of scourging and of the cross, before the fog of death sets in.
Jesus changes His appearance because He does not want his friends to become doubtful in the dense fog of doubts, fear, and persecution; He does not want them to forget, He does not want them to become confused; He does not want them to cease desiring, He wants them to have faith.
Jesus' transfiguration is an antidote to doubt and prevents doubts from arising. He shows a shining face so that when it becomes covered with blood on the cross and down through history people do not stop desiring God's wishes. It is the face of He who, even in the midst of the thick fog of death, appears powerful, magnificent - more than a thousand suns - alive, glorious and always with us, for us, within us.