Thursday, September 24, 2020

Gospel of Matthew — The Transfiguration: Parallel to the Execution

Matthew 17:1-8

This parallel never occurred to me before. But what a world of meditation it opens up!

12th-century icon of the Transfiguration
Saint Catherine's Monastery, Sinai (Egypt)
The transfiguration scene serves as "a twin of sorts" to the execution narrative in 27:32-54. Davies and Allison beautifully note the parallels. "In the one, a private epiphany, an exalted Jesus, with garments glistening, stands on a high mountain and is flanked by two religious giants from the past. All is light. In the other, a public spectacle, a humiliated Jesus, whose clothes have been torn from him and divided, is lifted upon a cross and flanked by two common, convicted criminals. All is darkness. We have here a pictorial antithetical parallelism, a dyptych in which the two plates have similar lines but different colors. The parallel scenes highlight the horror of Good Friday and the splendor of Jesus's love for us. It is no ordinary man that will be crucified on Calvary, but the beloved Son of God revealed in glory at the transfiguration. This same glorified Son will freely submit himself to utter humiliation in order to redeem the human family (see Phil 2:5-11).
Quote is from Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture: Gospel of Matthew by Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri. This series first ran in 2008. I'm refreshing it as I go.

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