Catholic Q&A: The Transfiguration of Our Lord

What is the Transfiguration?
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Transfiguration is:

“The mysterious event in which Jesus, speaking with Moses and Elijah on the mountain, was transformed in appearance - in the sight of Peter, James, and John - as a moment of disclosure of His divine glory.” (CCC, Glossary, pp. 901-902; 554)

Who witnessed the Transfiguration?
There were three witnesses: St. Peter, st. James, and James’ brother, St. John.

What changes occurred in Our Lord?
Matthew tells us that the Lord Jesus’ “face shone like the sun and His clothes became white as light” (Matthew 17:2).

Why did Moses and Elijah appear to Our Lord during the Transfiguration?
Both Moses and Elijah were real people that once lived; but, they were bigger than life. Moses symbolized the Jewish Law. Elijah symbolized prophecy. The Transfiguration serves to prove by The Law and The Prophets that Christ’s suffering was indeed the plan of God. This proof is further backed by the testimony of God the Father Himself, when he commands “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him” (Matthew 17:5).

When do celebrations of Our Lord’s Transfiguration appear in the Church’s calendar?
The Feast of the Transfiguration is celebrated on August 6th, and it is featured during the Second Sunday of Lent.

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