Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John, and led them up a high mountain by itself. In front of the faces of them in engaged in metamorphosis. He became as a lamp in front of their faces, as light. His face became as the sun, and the clothing of him as white as light.
You are the salt of the earth, if the salt loses its saltiness, how is it able to become salty again. It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under the feet of men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hid.
In a prior post, we saw the puns in the passage from the Sermon on the Mount. The Hebrew word for salt and for messenger, angel, and king is Molech. The Hebrew word for inhabitable world is Table. The Hebrew word for salt that has gone by is Tebel. You are the salt and therefore the messenger of the world. If you lose the message, of what good are you but to be trampled under the foot of others who choose not to believe? If we are not salt, a pleasant seasoning with a pleasant message all want to hear, what are we but more darkness for the world?
You are the light, Oar, of the Olam/the organized world, cosmos. A city, ear on a mountain are, is not able to be hid. They do not light a norah and put it under a measure. That would be as the harsh measures put on the Jews by the Romans. They put it on a menorah for all of those who are in the house.
How many of us have had the privilege of driving south on US 395 from north of Stead at night. As we cross that last hill, we come upon Reno. There we see not one big light but ten thousand little ones and they appear as one big light. We see the same thing sitting on Windy Hill, not one big light but ten thousand small ones. The bully stands up to someone his size, but who stands up to ten thousand bees, or flies?
Jesus talks of putting his norah, his single candle upon a menorah, a seven-pointed candelabra, just like the lights of Reno. As Jesus came to Jerusalem from the moon, Jericho means the moon, he likewise sees Jerusalem all at once, not as one big light but as ten thousand smaller ones.
Jesus leads his closest followers up to a high mountain, just as Moses leads his followers to a high mountain, Sinai. This must be considered when reading this passage. Jesus repeats the same feat with his followers.
Moses and Elijah appeared to Jesus, conversing with him. While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,* then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen of him. αὐτοῦ ἀκούετε. This is our command to come to Mass and pay attention to the Gospel each Sunday.
This also shows us the key comparison. Mount Sinai is a volcano. When Moses climbs it, it is erupting. Read the key passages again. In Deuteronomy, you will find them in chapter 4:9-14. Likewise, the image of the transfiguration reminds us of a volcano erupting. There is a new light in the world, the light giving the Ten Words, and they reside in the heart of each person who is present. Deuteronomy 5:2-3 Deuteronomy 30: 10-14. This is the point Jesus tries to get across with his resurrection, there is a new light in the world, him, and through him, us.
The NAME, our God, cut a covenant with us at Horeb; not with our fathers did the NAME cut this covenant, but with us, each of us, alive, here, this day.
In Jewish tradition, this means each time they celebrate Passover, the event is relived fresh, for the first time. Each person who attends is present at the original Sinai. Each person them becomes a messenger of the message, “I am the NAME your God, who brought you out of the land of Oppression, out of the house of menial labor.
You shall say to your son, the one you are building up, “We were once menial servants of the great bully in the land of oppression, but the NAME brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and wrought before our eyes signs and wonders, great and dire, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and his whole house.” Deuteronomy 6: 21-22. Read the New Colossus on the Statue of Liberty some time as see how our American foundation is the same. Why is it that those who claim to be Christian constitute 75% of the American people, but we only have seating for 24% of them in our pews on Sunday? Why is it that the whole world loves a lover and God commands us to be lovers, but nobody likes a churchgoer?
Then comes Jesus telling us of Elijah’s coming and how he was John the Baptist. Then comes the whole message of our faith. It is not about moving mountains. It is about the epileptic boy. When we have faith as small as a mustard seed, we can move, not the physical mountains, though humans do that. He shows how we can heal each other; create the perfect community of Deuteronomy 4.
In the metamorphosis, transfiguration, Jesus represents Sinai. He shows us our rescue, how we can heal and transform the world with faith that there is a promised land coming. It is not with a large lamp, one person with a great idea, but with ten thousand lamps, each with a small idea. It is being like salt, a seasoning that shows the beauty, not of the next world, but of this one. If we can’t take care of this world, why should God entrust us with the next one.