Dear Friends in Christ,
On a number of occasions in his ministry Jesus chose to take only Peter, James and John with him. One of those was the healing of Jairus’ daughter, and another was his last visit to Gethsemane. They were also with him when, as we read in the Gospel today, his human body was transfigured and glowed with divine life of a glorified and resurrected body. The disciples were granted, if you like, a glimpse of heaven. Peter, vividly recalled the event: ‘we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honour and glory form God the Father and the voice was borne to him by the Messianic Glory “This is my Beloved Son, with who I am well pleased,” we heard this voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain’.
We believe in the resurrection of the body – it is always important to be clear on this point. We believe in the hope that on the last day our bodies will rise and be resplendent and illuminated with the life of God, just as Jesus’ body was at the Transfiguration. What a hope! What a future! What a destiny! What kind of body it will be we don’t know. Our own bodies are subject to death, decay and corruption but we live in hope of resurrection.
Paul poses the question we all ask: ‘How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come? There will always be an element of mystery about this – how can we know for sure what kind of body it will be? The Apostle explains that there are earthly bodies and there are heavenly bodies, and they both have their own beauty and splendour. However, whereas the earthly body dies, the heavenly body is not subject to corruption, and that is our hope. What we do know for sure is that just as we have borne the likeness of Jesus on earth, so in heaven we shall bear the likeness of the heavenly transfigured Jesus.
‘For by the sacrifice of his own body, he(Jesus) did two things. He put an end to the law of death which barred our way; and he made a new beginning of life for us, by giving us hope of resurrection (St. Athanasius).