Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up a mountain to pray. While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.
Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But he did not know what he was saying. While he was still speaking, a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”
After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. They fell silent and did not at that time tell anyone what they had seen. (Lk 9: 28B-36)
One's life is often filled with numerous joys: brief foretastes of the beauty of Paradise. Like Mary Magdalene on Easter morning, one firmly clings to Our Lord in these moments of profound happiness. It is easy to be like the three apostles on Tabor not wishing to descend from the glories that delight to the drudgeries that await below. Yet, Christ gently reminds us that those rewards cannot be attained without the toil of self-sacrifice, and the sweat of patient endurance.
The cross cannot be avoided but must be accepted. To refuse it would be to reject the very faith that one professes to follow so devoutly. It is important to be mindful that Christ saved his harshest rebuke for the leader of His apostles, not when Peter denied him but when he denied the cross:
"From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, 'God forbid, Lord! No such then shall ever happen to you." 'He turned and said to Peter,'Get behind me Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are not thinking as God does but as human beings do.' Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.'" (Mt 16:21-25)But Christ does not abandon one as in a desert, bereft of comforts in the midst of difficulties. Knowing the endurance needed to persevere through trials, He readily supplies us with consolations. These are the reserves to be drawn upon to strengthen our resolve. When the cross feels too burdensome, and the sacrifice required appears to exact too heavy a payment, one must return to his treasure of consolations to remind him of God's great love, and then allow these merciful glimpses of heavenly beauty to spur him onward.