Friend Ben in Denver raised some questions for reflection about the Lord's Transfiguration, coming out of the second Sunday of Lent. In my homily I made the point that the Transfiguration is a preview of the Resurrection, so Ben perceptively asks how it is also a preview of the coming of the Lord at the end of time. He also asks--and this is very interesting in other ways--how the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the feast of Transfiguration in 1945 are perhaps related to the revelation this feast commemorates. I've been thinking about these two things for a few days.
I would say that the Transfiguration is just as much a preview of the Resurrected Lord (as Jesus' first disciples would experience him) as it is of the Lord who will come again at the end of time. I say this because, in my best understanding, the Resurrection of the Lord we celebrate at Easter and the arrival of the Lord at the end of time are really the same thing. In the development of the understanding of the people of God--especially between the Testaments--the Resurrection was always an event that marked the end of time. Thus, when Jesus is Risen and the experience of him as risen encourages the disciples to gather together again and bravely proclaim his gospel, this is a sign that the end of time has, in a sense, already arrived. Recall the Lord's basic proclamation, "the Kingdom of God is at hand!"
The Resurrection is the "end"--in both the sense of terminus and the sense of purpose--of time, breaking backward into history, just as Jesus himself is the eternal Word of God breaking into history, time and space. The good news of the Resurrection is that this glorious and hopeful conclusion and goal of history is now present in Jesus Christ, and, as he promised, is drawing all things--and time itself--to himself.
I'll save the atomic bomb for the next post.