Reading I: Genesis 12:1-4a
Reading II: 2 Timothy 1:8b-10
GOSPEL: Matthew 17:1-9

Time Stand Still

Guilty pleasure confession time. I am a huge fan of the band Rush. When I was in 8th grade, I was a metalhead – and I loved Canadian heavy metal the most! Anyway, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I can reflect on this weekend’s gospel.

Okay, so I have to admit that there is a point to my confession. You see, every time I read the story of Jesus’ Transfiguration, it makes me think of one of Rush’s songs – “Time Stand Still.” In it, Geddy Lee sings, “freeze this moment a little bit longer, make each sensation a little bit stronger,” and “I’m not looking back, but I want to look around me now.” It was almost as though he had gotten into Peter’s head after he had witnessed Jesus’ face shining like the sun and his clothes becoming white as light!

Mountaintop Experience

At that time, Peter was so overwhelmed by what he was seeing that he wanted to take a little more time up on the mountain to reflect on it and enjoy the experience. Though our first thought when we experience something awesome probably isn’t, “I should set up a tent,” I think we can still understand Peter’s feeling. In our own lives, we also have these “mountaintop experiences” in which we just want time to freeze because everything seems so clear, true, and real. We want that moment to last.

Sometimes our lives can be so fast and hectic that we miss too much. Too often we don’t realize how special a moment is until after it’s gone and we finally have a chance to sit down and take a breath. Life may not slow down when we need it to, so we have to be on the lookout for those special moments and savor them. We need to give ourselves the chance to let them soak in so the memory will last!

Coming Down the Mountain

After the Transfiguration, Jesus, Peter, James and John had to come back to the “real world.” Time could not stand still – although Peter seemed to wish it would – and they couldn’t savor the moment too long because they still had work to do. In our lives as Christians, we need to come down from that mountain too, because Jesus also left work for us to do. We have to strike the balance between that mountain top moment of stillness and clarity, and the work of spreading the Good News of the Gospel through our everyday lives.

But here’s a challenge for you: This weekend, try to see your time at Mass as one of those great mountaintop experiences. We are all gathered together, and Jesus is truly there with us, just as he was that day on the mountain when he was transfigured before his friends. And when the mass is over, don’t just leave it there. Take it out into the world with you and spread the Word!

I do have one favor to ask though. Please don’t tell anyone about my Rush thing, okay?

Life Applications:

What have been some mountaintop experiences in your life?
How have you brought that back into the “real world” with you?
What do you think of Canadian heavy metal?

Original articleby Jacki Popadich, 2005.
Edited and revised by Brandon Jubar, 2020.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.