Natural and supernatural
“Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep but kept awake, and they saw his glory…” (Catholic edition RSV, Luke 9:32)
Before we leave a place where we have lived but which we shall never see again, we take one farewell look round, and then with that memory in our minds, go on our way. And Our Blessed Lord did exactly the same thing before he left this earth and returned to his glory in Heaven. As his ministry in Galilee ended and he prepared to make that last journey to Jerusalem and to Calvary, he first took his Apostles with him to the most northern point of his travels, to Mount Hermon.
Starting from there he was able to traverse the whole length of the country; and so for the last time he passed through the towns and villages of Galilee, down the Jordan Valley, through Jericho and into Jerusalem itself until, on Good Friday, he stumbled the final thousand yards of the Way of Sorrows, and his journey ended at last with his feet fast nailed to the Cross.
It is small wonder, therefore, that as he made his way to Mount Hermon in preparation for that long purposeful journey, the thought of its end scarcely left his mind; and he began to warn his disciples of what was going to happen to him. “From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things…and be killed (Catholic edition RSV, Matthew 16:21).
And so a hitherto unknown depression settled on the little group and they fell silent. Each one’s mind filled now with bewilderment, now with apprehension, but still clinging to the hope that he was speaking in parables, that his words were not to be taken literally and that the apparent danger would pass.