In the first reading today, the Word of the Lord tells us about an ancient father, Abraham, who, obeying his covenant with God, raised his knife on Mount Moriah to kill his only-begotten son and burn him to ashes as a sacrifice to God.
That was a foreshadowing of God who so loved the world that he gave his only Son to be offered up on Mount Golgotha in the sacrifice of the cross to cut open and raise up the New and Everlasting Covenant with humankind.
We eat and drink the Body and Blood of Christ so as to live in communion with the covenant sacrifice of the cross.
At the close of today’s Gospel reading, we heard a hint of the sacrifice of the cross as Jesus bade Peter, James and John to wait until after his death and resurrection before telling anyone they saw Jesus transfigured.
This is the Gospel according to Mark.
When Luke’s Gospel retells the Transfiguration, it says Jesus, Moses and Elijah were speaking about the day when Jesus would pass away at Jerusalem, the city that straddles Mount Moriah, where Abraham of old had made ready to sacrifice his own son.
Hundreds of years before Christ, Moses and Elijah had climbed other mountains, and with their own eyes had stared at the mystery of God.
Jesus, Moses, and Elijah— all three men presided over mountains, and all three had links to killings— killings that had to do with the life-and-death gravity of covenants between God and men.
Twelve hundred years or more before Christ, Moses had come down from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments from God, asking the People of Israel to vow themselves to the terms of the covenant God offered them.
They did so.
However, within days at the foot of the same Mount Sinai, Israel turned and made an idol, worshiped it, called the idol “lord” and “god,” and credited the idol with saving them from Egyptian slavery.
Moses held the people accountable for sinning against their covenant with the true and living God.
He sent the priests with their swords into the camp at the foot of Mount Sinai to kill three thousand men of Israel.
About four hundred years after Moses, or about eight hundred years before Christ, Elijah went up Mount Carmel to stand alone against the eight hundred and fifty prophets who led Israel in worshiping the idols Asherah and Baal.
Elijah won from God miraculous intervention on Mount Carmel, and slit the throats of the eight hundred and fifty idol-worshiping prophets, thus turning Israel back to God’s covenant.
Moses and Elijah: two mountain men who killed for the sake of God’s covenant that spelled out NO forgiveness of sins for breaking it.
Jesus: the Son of God who chose to be killed on Mount Golgotha, next to Mount Moriah, and rise from the dead as the New and Everlasting Covenant between God and humankind for the forgiveness of sins.
Today in his Gospel, on the mountain where he was transfigured, the new and the everlasting shone from the body and the clothing of Jesus.
Moses and Elijah also appeared there, and spoke with Jesus about his coming death that would give rise to the New and Everlasting Covenant.
The new and everlasting shone from Jesus and from his clothing.
Like bread and wine, clothing is what earth has given and human hands have made.
What earth has given and human hands have made becomes for us the Bread of Life in the Body of Christ.
And what earth has given and human hands have made becomes our Spiritual Drink in the Blood of Christ.
What earth has given and human hands have made shines with Light from Light in the Transfiguration of the Body and Blood of Christ, True God from True God, God the Son of God the Father in the unity of God the Spirit.
The Fathers voice resounded on the mountain of Transfiguration.
The cloud of the Holy Spirit wrapped the mountain.
God’s Beloved Son shone upon the mountain.
All the mysteries of the New and Everlasting Covenant are veiled and unveiled on the mountain.
Through Baptism, we enter the death and resurrection of Christ, and begin to live in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Then the anointing of the Holy Spirit seals and confirms us as the royal, priestly and prophetic sons and daughters of God.
Then we offer the sacrifice of the New and Everlasting Covenant, and take our share of communion with God in the Body and Blood of Christ.
If we do not betray this covenant, there will be no need for Moses and Elijah to kill again.
However, if we do mortally betray the New and Everlasting Covenant, we can turn back to God in sacramental repentance, because the New and Everlasting Covenant has come so that sins may be forgiven.
It is as we hear from God in the second reading today.
Christ Jesus… who died… was raised— who also is at the right hand of God… intercedes for us.
Yes, now if we turn back again to God, there is no longer need for Moses and Elijah to kill.
Where we accept and heed the New and Everlasting Covenant, it transfigures the old covenant.
This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.
Hearing the Father of the New and Everlasting Covenant, the holy intermediaries of his older covenant, Moses and Elijah, disappeared, leaving Jesus alone with Peter, James and John.
If we are faithful to the New and Everlasting Covenant, we shall rise from the dead.
We shall join Peter, James and John, even Moses and Elijah, to see God face to face.
We shall live clothed in the joy of perpetual light.
For the sake of that joy, we must listen to God’s Beloved Son.
Turn. Love. Repeat.