(CMC) Mount Tabor, a place that was the scene of a great mystical experience for Christianity, is located near the city of Nazareth.
According to the Holy Scriptures, Jesus invited Peter, James and John to retreat on this mountain, where Jesus was transfigured before them. Moses and Elijah appeared next to Jesus, while a voice from heaven announced: “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him.” Moses symbolizes the law; Elijah symbolizes the prophets. There is a tradition among the local Christian Arab families: they go up on the mountain the day before the feast and spend the night there, camping.
Jumana came with her family, composed of 13 people.
Jumana Khalil, Arab Christian from Reinch, Israel
“We are Christians of the Holy Land. We must give importance to this moment and we must announce to the entire world that not only they are welcome here, but they are also invited to celebrate this feast in their countries and in their homes, making it important as we do here.
I am not saying that they should come here to celebrate with us, in the Holy Land, but, on the contrary, they should do it wherever they are.”
A barbecue is part of the folk tradition, but the food they eat here has the goal of satisfying the soul.
“We do not give importance to the food we are eating now, but to Jesus. Jesus is our food.”
Pilgrims and faithful come here with an expectation: to participate in the Eucharistic celebration at the Shrine.
Marco Trevisanut, Seminarian from Milan, Italy
“The big difference is that this is exactly the place where Jesus was transfigured; therefore, this is a feast that we have always celebrated, although this celebration here is a powerful event with a totally different and new relevance.”
Father Juan accompanied a group from Spain.
Fr. Juan Jose Monfort Vallei, Priest Pilgrim from Spain
“If I were able to transform all of the things in my life that I dislike, I would be allowed to experience the glory that is over Him and that I am not able to see at this moment.
However, this is a matter of faith and I hope it will be granted to me, through the Feast of the Transfiguration.”
In addition to the faithful, among the pilgrims, there was also a group of priests, who work for the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions.
Fr. David Sciocco, PIME Missionary
“We hope to return home transfigured, and to be a seed that will be able to transform and change the lives of people and nations.”
The Eucharistic celebration was presided by the Custos of the Holy Land, Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who emphasized that this biblical episode contains a special significance: it anticipates, indeed, who we will be.
Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, ofm, Custos of the Holy Land
“We will all be transfigured, after our encounter with Christ, transfigured with the risen Christ. This is, therefore, an invitation, to raise our eyes from the harsh reality of life without forgetting our destiny: our definitive encounter with Christ.”
At the end of mass, everyone processed to the chapel, built in memory of Jesus’ request to his disciples to not speak to anyone about the vision they had.
Fr. Agustin Pelayo, ofm, Director, Christian Information Center
“This is a powerful invitation, since the Lord does not want us to believe in grandiose signs; but in His Words.”
The Custos finally blessed palms to give out to the faithful who were present, a sign of peace and hope that is to be announced, after everyone has come down from the mountain.