Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here.’ Matthew 17:4

These words were spoken by St. Peter as he witnessed the glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as He was transfigured before him and Sts. James and John on Mt. Tabor. What a truly awesome experience this must have been for these three Disciples. It was also a frightening experience. The icon of the Feast depicts the three Disciples falling away from our Lord, and seeming to cover their eyes. This echos what we hear in the Tropar for the feast, that Christ revealed his glory to the Disciples “as far as they could bear it.” Perhaps it was actually more than they could bear! Shortly before this in St. Matthew’s Gospel we read about Peter’s great confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Mt. 16:16). Seeing Christ Transfigured before him only further confirms this.

St. Peter has an awareness of what he is experiencing. Despite the fact that he (and the other Disciples) did not yet fully understand why Christ was to endure everything He was preparing to endure (His Passion and death on the Cross), he still had an awareness of the importance of being in the presence of Christ. As we celebrate this Feast today, and for the next several days of the afterfeast, we would do well to reflect on these words of Peter and their meaning to us in our lives. When we are in the presence of Christ, most specifically in the services of the Holy Church, are we in awe? When we are invited to the supper of the Holy Eucharist to partake of the precious Body and Blood in Christ, do we do so in the fear of God? Is our spiritual mindset as we approach the chalice the same as the physical appearance of the three Disciples is as they are depicted in that icon? Peter and the other Disciples left all behind to follow Christ, because they knew it was good to be with Him. Are we prepared to leave behind the cares of this world to follow Him? Do we truly take the time in prayer, either in private in our icon corners at home, or with our parish family during the Liturgy, a vespers, or another service to truly reflect on how blessed, how truly good it is for us to be in the presence of the Lord?

Brothers and sisters, let us embrace the joy of this feast, and never lose sight of how good it is to be in the presence of our Lord and how we should take every opportunity that is afforded us to do just that–be in His presence. If we do, our own lives can and will be transfigured. We too, can be blessed to see the Lord in His glory, in His heavenly kingdom where there is no pain, sorrow, nor sighing, but only life ever lasting.

A joyous feast to all of you!

In the Transfigured Lord,

Fr. Matthew