07 August 2018

"It is good to be here": the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

The Christians of Nazareth and of the area arrived on Mount Tabor after hours of walking. On the morning of 6 August, the Custos of the Holy Land presides over the solemn Mass.


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“He took Peter, John, and James with him and went up on a mountain to pray. 
While he was praying, his face changed its appearance, and his clothes became dazzling white." (Lk 9, 28).
And these Christians of Nazareth did followed this passage of the Gospel on the Transfiguration of the Lord. The group of 75 people met at midnight in the Basilica of the Annunciation. Everything was ready for the five-hour walk, a total of 15 km, all the way to Mount Tabor, for the feast during which Jesus was transfigured.

"This celebration reminds me when I was young and a Scout member. 65 years ago, I came with them from Nazareth and we camped here for two weeks".

The road is long, but the effort is worth it, as you reach the top of the hill and exclaim, like Peter did,: "Master, it is good to be here". Traditionally, local Christians walk to the sacred mountain or camp the previous day around the Basilica of the Transfiguration, one of Antonio Barluzzi's masterpieces in the Holy Land. 

"We came to the top and we will be transfigured with Him. All the challenges along the way stand alongside the challenges of our lives. But with the help of the Holy Spirit, we have overcome them. With His help we can walk up to 5 o'clock in the morning.

Jaffa of Nazareth
"I take part in this march with my family every year. And I love to participate in this journey and teach my children how Jesus suffered for us and how we can share with Him the same feelings and experiences".
Even at dawn, there was a Mass attended by those who came in the early hours of this festive day. In the Eucharist, the moment of listening to the voice of the Father: And a voice came out of the cloud, saying: "Then a voice came from the cloud, saying: This is My son, the chosen one; listen to Him!
Early in the morning, christians from all over the Holy Land, pilgrims and religious arrived for the solemn Mass presided by the Custos of the Holy Land, Friar Francis Patton. A celebration that brought every believer to the mountain to be transfigured.
Custos of the Holy Land
"The mountain is always a place of revelation, such as for Moses, who received the commandments on the mountain. And Jesus revealed on the mountain, as the Lord revealed Himself to Moses and Elijah. This feast is a reminder that the whole Church is the body of Christ and shows this beauty, this luminosity. And it also evokes something personal because our body is inhabited by the Spirit and it will be transformed, transfigured in a similar way as Jesus. This is our eternal destiny. "
It is time to go down and back to reality. But a recommendation
comes from the Lord: "He commanded them that they would tell no one anything that they had seen until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead." (Mk 9:9) After Mass, there was the procession to the Byzantine chapel which commemorates these words.
Custos of the Holy Land
"When we come down from the mountain, we are all called to take part in this struggle of Jesus against the spirit of evil and against evil in all its manifestations. And when we come down from the mountain, we are called to bring into our hearts this act of light, of beauty, this moment of profound experience with Him, because we need it. We will have moments of difficulty, tests, passion and cross, and in these moments it will be fundamental to remember what the Lord Jesus revealed and made people experience when He was on the mountain."

Now it is time to bring the experience of the mountain into our daily lives, in communion with the Church, God's tent among men.