If a teacher would bring up these two terms, I fear the question would be: Contrast and compare transfiguration and transformation. They are different, yes, but, it seems also very intertwined. And, they’ve been on my radar for a couple of days.
Saturday night, USA ran Schindler’s List comercial free, wrapped only in an into and epilogue by Steven Spielberg who spoke about tolerance and about the Shoah Foundation. I had never seen the movie before, and found parts of it twisting my stomach into knots with horror. I can in some ways understand those Holocaust deniers who cannot accept that this happened. This bit of history reflects some of the worst of humanity.
So, how does this play into transfiguration and transformation? Oskar Schindler, of course. Schindler doing the right things for the wrong reasons. Schindler’s transformation into a man who would go to the ends of his world to save his people. Schindler who was transformed in a way by how the Jews he had under his protection had been transfigured for him into human beings, worthy of protection and care. By the end of the movie, the end of WWII in Europe, this man had been changed, almost in spite of himself.
Another theme I found in the movie was just a hint of how the cruelty and inhumanity of the entire cancerous Nazi philosophy and practices twisted those involved. I’m in no way defending Goeth, but there was a glimpse of a deeply disturbed man, fighting against his own humanity. I got a glimpse of how his choices and his world ate away at him, leaving behind a damaged, dangerous individual who couldn’t face himself and struck out at anything that came close to his “good” side.
Enter Sunday’s Gospel: the account of the Transfiguration of Jesus. I listened to this reading in the aftermath of the movie. I thought to myself that the Transfiguration sounded more like the transformation of the disciples so that they could truly see Jesus, more than any change in Jesus. I could be wrong, but I don’t think so. Who knows what can happen if we allow ourselves to see differently? To be transformed so as to see a transfigured world around us.
Think about it.