Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”
It was out of the abundance of his divine love that God gave a glimpse of the future glory of Christ in his risen humanity to the three disciples on that memorable occasion. And with Christ he showed two others of his faithful servants also in glory. He understood the human weakness of the disciples, and foresaw the shock to their faith which the sad scenes of the passion and crucifixion of their beloved Master would be some weeks later. So, to strengthen and forearm them for that sad trial, he gave them a glimpse of the future glory which was to be theirs, too, if they persevered.
It is for this same reason that this all-important event in the life of Christ and of his Apostles has been preserved for us in the Gospels and is put before us today.
Like the Apostles, we. too, believe firmly in God. We. too, are convinced that Christ was sent by God to bring us to heaven. We now have much more convincing proof that Christ was not only the Messiah, an envoy of God, but the very Son of God—something the Apostles did not then understand. But we are still very like them in our human weakness, and in our half-hearted acceptance of God's purpose for and promises to us.
The Apostles had to face the awful test to their faith and trust in God, which the passion and crucifixion of Christ was for them. We now accept with gratitude and realize that Christ "had to suffer and thus enter into his glory." We even understand that the very purpose of Christ's passion was that, in spite of our mortality and weakness, we also might enter into eternal glory through his suffering, on condition that we remain true to our faith.
In our moments of cool, calm reasoning we can see clearly how good God has been to us, how wonderful his love which has arranged for us an eternity of happiness, the perfect fulfillment of every rational human desire. We can also see how little God asks of us during our few short years here, in return for the everlasting happy home he has prepared for us.
But unfortunately we have many moments in life in which cool, calm reasoning does not prevail. We have moments when our vices and not our virtues take charge, moments when we are prepared to sell our eternal heritage in exchange for a mess of earthly pottage. Some of us may already have bartered our heavenly home for some temporal gain or pleasure—but while there is life there is hope. We can still put things right with God.
"Lord, it is good for us to be here"; it is wonderful to be adopted sons of God on the road back to our Father. It is wonderful to be assured that in death this body of ours with its pains and aches, its attraction to earthly things and worse still its propensity to sin, will give place to a glorified body. This glorified body will be free from all pain and corruption and will possess all the human spiritual gifts of intelligence and will to so much greater a degree as will enable us to appreciate and enjoy the eternal happiness in store for us.
O God, who have commanded us to listen to your beloved Son, be pleased, we pray, to nourish us inwardly by your word, that, with spiritual sight made pure, we may rejoice to behold your glory.