Jesus knows that the Cross awaits him in Jerusalem, and he has begun to prepare his disciples for his suffering and death. He takes Peter, James and John to the mountain top, where they are granted an astounding vision of Jesus in his heavenly glory. Moses and Elijah appear, symbolising the Law and the Prophets, which are to be fulfilled and completed in Jesus. And then the disciples hear the voice of God the Father. No wonder they are overcome with fear.
The disciples had been following Jesus for some time, but they often failed to understand him, especially when he foretold his Passion. The vision on the mountain would, in a way, be encouraging for them; Jesus, the Teacher they had chosen to follow, truly was the Son of God. But it was also a stark confirmation of the road that Jesus was walking – the road that led to Calvary. This was what it meant to be a beloved Son; this was the road that they, as disciples of the Son, were also called to walk. Only after the Lord’s death and resurrection would his disciples understand. Today’s Gospel reminds us that, for disciples of Christ, the road to glory goes by way of Calvary.