Archive for the ‘Transfiguration’ Category


The Transfiguration
Aug 6/06

When the disciples see Jesus
shining in all his radiance
during the transfiguration on the mountain,
they see that Jesus is truly the ‘beloved Son’
of the Father.
They also understand
that he is the true Messiah,
promised by the prophets, throughout history.
During the transfiguration itself
Jesus does not speak even one word.
The splendor of Christ’s glory
demonstrates that Jesus’ talk of suffering and death
is certainly not the whole story.
The disciples are given a glimpse of
the ‘big picture’.
The two people who appear with Jesus
are Moses and Elijah –
Moses who received God’s law
on a mountaintop
and Elijah the great prophet
who experienced God’s presence
as a gentle breeze
and proclaimed the coming of the Messiah.
Each in his own way
these two great men
lived in expectation of the Messiah
and now in this moment
of high revelation
they stand by his side
to testify to his true identity.
But suddenly,
the disciples look around to see
that Moses and Elijah are gone.
Only Jesus, the Son of God remains.
because only Jesus, the Son of God is needed.
The words from his Father
are an important message:
“Listen to him!”
We listen to so many voices today,
without stopping to look for
the wisdom in the words.
The voices promise us
all types of earthly success
but never inspire us to a higher vision.
In today’s gospel
the voice of the Father
breaks into our world to say:
“This is my Son, the Beloved,
listen to him.”
When Jesus tells the disciples
that he must suffer and die,
they cling stubbornly to their own thoughts.
The path that Jesus will take
is so different from their expectations
that they refuse to accept his words.
Only after the resurrection
will they begin to understand
that before the glory
comes suffering and sacrifice.
Sometimes we have to climb a mountain
to have a mountain top experience.
Sometimes we have to climb a mountain
to bring things into focus,
to get away from all the static,
to gain a better vision
of who we are meant to be.
Sometimes we have to climb a mountain
so that the signals can come in more clearly.
We all need encouragement
from time to time,
a glimpse of a world beyond
through some experience of the Holy,
through some experience of the power of God,
to help us grow in a dynamic and confident faith.
Peter needed a vison from God’s point of view.
We also need to check our vision
with God’s point of view.
We experience three occasions of transformation
as we journey in life, towards eternity.
First, at baptism, a new person is born in Christ.
Next, we are changed and shaped
as we deal with the trials of life.
Every challenge
is an opportunity for us to grow.
If we push aside our responsibilities
we remain stuck in our childish ways.
But the more we die to our own will,
the more grace can transform us.
As Jesus says:
“He who loses his life for my sake,
will find it.”
Christianity without the cross
is not Christianity at all.
We must identify our cross
and carry it with patience, joy and love.
A third transformation
comes with our physical death
which makes way for an amazing change
which we will only appreciate at that time.
But our final transformation,
will take place at the Second Coming of Christ
when our body is reunited with our soul.
As St Paul says: “I consider
that the sufferings of this present time
cannot be compared with the glory
that is going to be revealed to us.”
This mysterious renewal –
the transformation of humanity and the world,
is referred to in scripture as:
the ‘new heavens and the new earth’.
Our visible universe is
destined to be transformed,
to share in the glorification
of the Risen Christ.
Every time we gather for Mass
we experience a moment of transformation
when God acts through human speech
changing elements of nature – bread and wine
into the Body and Blood of Christ.
Through his action
God draws heaven and earth together
in anticipation of the new world to come.
God’s kingdom will come.
We know this from the lives of the holy ones –
the saints.
God’s generosity flows out to those
who in open and simple faith,
in good times and bad times alike,
support and expand
the building of God’s kingdom;
those people who avoid
destructive hate and envy
and cling to their vision of eternal peace.
These true believers touch the face of God
as they tire themselves out
working with a calm and bright vision
of what can be.
Today may we be humble enough
to allow God to work through us
so that his plan becomes a reality
in our own lives.

The apostle Paul has written:
“Night shall be no more;
they need no light of lamp or sun;
for the Lord will be their light.”
The ruler of all,
in his endless glory,
will shine on those who have,
through his grace,
have escaped the darkness.
It is not a matter of time.
It is a matter of love.
It is a matter of surrender,
to the unwavering love of God.
Let us close with this prayer
written by a 12th century mystic:
“How precious to me
is your steadfast love, O God!
I take refuge in your shadow
and feast on the abundance of your table.
I depend on the river of your gifts.
For with you is the fountain of life;
only in your light do I see light.”


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