Peter, James and John thought they knew Jesus well, until he took them up the mountain. There they saw him as they had never seen him before, shining with divine light, speaking with two ancient heroes representing the Law and the Prophets, and they wanted the experience to last for ever. But when God’s own voice proclaimed Jesus as the beloved Son, they fell to the ground and hid their faces in fear: no man can look on the face of God. Only when Jesus touched them and told them not to be afraid could they lift their eyes again.
Their relationship with Jesus would never be the same again. Before this, they could not understand why he was saying he had to suffer and die. Now they could listen to him in a new way and grow closer to being able to follow in his footsteps. There would still be many misunderstandings, hesitations and betrayals on the way, but this encounter with Jesus in his glory had given them the strength and encouragement they would need to follow him through suffering and death to resurrection.
Pope Francis has invited each of us to encounter Jesus in a new way every day, and the heart of that encounter is to listen to him. Through our prayer and through our reflection on the scriptures we receive the courage to come closer to Jesus and to find our way through the trials of life to the joy that awaits us. The father says to us again today, ‘This is my beloved Son: listen to him!’