Saturday, August 05, 2017

The Transfiguration


"Jesus took Peter, James and his brother John and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. He was transfigured before their eyes. His face became as dazzling as the sun, his clothes as radiant as light. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared to them conversing with him. Upon this, Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, how good it is for us to be here! ...He was still speaking when suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them. Out of the cloud came a voice which said, "This is my beloved Son on whom my favor rests. Listen to him." When they heard this the disciples fell forward on the ground, overcome with fear. Jesus came toward them and laying his hand on them, said "Get up!Do not be afraid." When they looked up they did not see anyone but Jesus...."  

Spiritual writers tell us that this event happened as a preparation for the disciples. Jesus was aware that His time to go to Jerusalem, to suffer, and eventually to die, will be too much for the disciples to bear at this time. They still are not strong in the faith. Jesus had to show them that He is truly the Lord, the Son of God, the Savior of Israel. It was a real privilege for this three men, Peter, James and John, to be selected for this manifestation. These same men will be the pillars of the new Christian Church. The appearance of Moses and Elijah, symbols of the Law and the Prophets, tells the disciples that Jesus is the fulfillment of both the Old and the New covenant. The voice in heaven saying "This is my beloved Son" is an echo of the same voice at Jesus' Baptism, when the same voice commanded us to listen to Him.

What does this mean to us? I'll tell you what it means to me. It tells me of the gentleness of God. How many times in my life when God allows me to experience wonderful events and allows me to meet wonderful people so that during times of trials and difficulties I am strengthened. When I feel overwhelmed with the challenges and trials of my religious life, I call to mind the joy I felt when I first pronounced my vows making me the bride of Christ and finally my perpetual vows, making me the Spouse of Jesus forever. When relationships change and friendships end, I remember the fun times and laughter shared together. When my prayer life is dry and I can't seem to think of God and his promises, I remember the times when my heart filled with delight at the thought that I live with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament every moment of the day. When I lose someone I love to death, I will remember their faces and their words, their lives and works, then my heart will be consoled because even for a short time, I had them.
God is truly gentle. He knows what we are made of and he doesn't leave us to suffer our pains and sorrows alone.  How many times, during these times of gladness and euphoria, did we not exclaim in the same way "Lord, it is good for me to be here!" And then, we realized that the vision passed on and we were left with nothing more or less than the human, the ordinary, the monotonous cadence of life.  But the lesson is: we should never lose sight of the experience. We should remember to remember. What about the words "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him." The disciples certainly needed to hear these words, didn't they? In a few weeks time, they would all be scattered like sheep without a shepherd. These words are as good today as they were then. The world is filled with so many confusing voices. Let us try our best to heed God's advice. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus.

The faith of Abraham is a model of discipleship.  To believe in God means to believe that he first exists.  For Abraham to leave everything behind, to embark on a journey with unknown destination, he must first have tremendous faith to sustain what was hidden from his understanding.  To embrace the teachings of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels means to believe that He is worthy of our trust and  that he truly knows what is good for us.  Faith is the assurance of things unseen.  It was Mary's faith which makes her a model of discipleship.  Faith is the the litmus test of true discipleship and from this faith flows all of our good deeds and acts of charity. 


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