Things were looking bad. The end was near. Hopelessness and despair were setting in. It was at this juncture that Jesus took his closest friends, Peter, James and John, with him to the mountaintop to pray. Nothing unusual. It was at this moment that Jesus decided to give them hope, to share a vision of the divine reality, to let them know that all was not lost. He was transfigured before their eyes. A blinding light, immense power unlike anything ever seen before, a vision of all human existence brought together in the presence of an all powerful God as represented by Moses and Elijah - the law and the prophets. By rights and from tradition Peter, James and John should be dead. Very few see the face of God and live ... and if they do, they are never the same, they are transformed as were Moses and Elijah. But this release of power brought life. It gave hope and joyful peace to hearts. It was a reminder that the power of God is meant to give life and transform a fallen world. Those three came down from that mountaintop bolstered in their resolve to be disciples and strengthened to share the Good News.
Today the Church celebrates that moment in the great feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus. It is a celebration of the wisdom that when we are one with the source of true power and glory, we are at peace and filled with joy, we are right with the world and right with God. May our lives always be found in this wonderful moment.
Ironically, today the world remembers the 72nd anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bomb, called "Little Boy" on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. It happened on the morning of August 6, 1945. A second such bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki on August 9th, this one named "Fat Man". These bombs unleased a blinding fireball of light and cloud such as the world had never seen before. It also unleased death and destruction upon Hiroshima (70,000 to 80,000 killed outright by the blast, with between 90,000 to 166,000 total deaths) and Nagasaki (60,000 to 80,000 deaths). Most of these were civilians. It brought about the end of the war with Japan.
The genius of creative minds developed this ability, and political necessity justified its use. But the moral implications have affected us ever since. Some power is beyond our ability to use wisely. Just because we can do something does not mean that we should do it. Despite the good that may have come from the actions on those two days in August, we have unleashed a power that is not our right to possess or to use in order to take life. We have lived in fear of others possessing such power ever since. We have made ourselves into gods, rather than bringing ourselves into the reality of the one true God. The road to redemption is repentance, prayer and fasting, and a renewed commitment to Christ rooted in a renewed commitment to the peace found only in Christ Jesus.