There is much I can say about Luke’s account on the Transfiguration. This morning, I’d like to focus on one aspect. Peter stated, “Master, it is good we are here, let us make three tents …” (Luke 9:33). When Peter says this he is referring to the tents that are erected to the Feast of Tabernacles which commemorated God’s presence with his people in three ways: God with us in the past, God with us in the present, God with us in the future.
God in the past. The Jewish people built tents and dwelled there for 8 days as a ritual reminder of their ancestors who journeyed through the desert and trusted God to provide for them.
This feast also celebrated God with us in the present as the Jewish people reaped the harvest to have food for the winter time.
Finally, erecting tents to commemorate God with us in the future was a great rehearsal to welcome God’s dwelling in our midst in the end times.
In Jesus, Peter saw our Lord’s glory. He wanted to erect tents because the God of the past, present, and future was in his midst.
So what can we make of this?
Luke’s account is sandwiched by two of the three predictions of the Lord’s passion. It is prefaced by Peter’s Confession of recognizing Jesus as the Messiah, and follows with the third prediction and a lesson on the so-called followers of Jesus. Therefore, the Transfiguration is surrounded around the concept of Christian Discipleship and teaches us that the greatest meaning of being Christian is not the work we do for Jesus, it is to be with Jesus.
God desires that we build our tents and know him as the God of our past, present, and future. Where can we encounter this presence? In the life of the Church and her sacraments. God is found where he is found. For int he Church, we are called to be saints. Saints called to serve the vulnerable with works of mercy, in secret ways. In doing so, the Father of Jesus looks on us and says, “This is my chosen son, this is my chosen daughter, in whom I am well pleased.”