FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION OF THE LORD
AUGUST 6, 2017
This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Saint Matthew 17: 1-9
Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone.
As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, “Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
The Gospel of the Lord
REFLECTION by Monsignor Joseph T. Marino
On first hearing the Gospel about the Transfiguration of Jesus, most people would wonder how this event has anything to do with them. One can see that the Transfiguration is a powerful demonstration that Jesus is truly divine because the Father says: This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him. While Jesus is praying, his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. In and through Jesus, the fullness of the divine Trinity is manifested; Jesus is the brilliance of God.
But, since we are not divine, we could wonder how the Transfiguration is relevant for us and our lives. And yet, the fact that all four Gospels record this event demonstrates that the Transfiguration is extremely relevant! But the question remains: if it is important to us, how does it connect to our lives?
Jesus is approaching his Passion, Death and Resurrection. Jesus is in deep prayer as he will be in the Garden of Gethsemane. In the midst of Jesus’ contemplation of his life and imminent death, the Faithful Father comes to affirm and strengthen his Son. The Son will suffer, but will never be alone; the Son will die, but He will live; the Son will sacrifice Himself, and the Father will raise Him up!
In turn, the Transfiguration is a significant moment for disciples of every age. Our master and Lord died. The Passion and Death of Jesus can shake one’s faith and hope in Jesus as God and Savior. In like fashion, a Christian’s life is filled with challenges, trials and death. A disciple struggles with decisions of choosing between the Cross of Jesus and the things of the world, as it was for Jesus. And, as the Faithful Father affirmed and strengthened His Son with the Transfiguration, so the Father strengthens us through our Transfiguration.
On each Sunday, we accompany Jesus up the mountain of Holy Mass so that Jesus might be transfigured before us in the Word and Eucharist, so that the Cloud of God can cast a shadow over us. We too acclaim: Master, it is good that we are here. Of course it is good because the celebration of the Mass is the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus, and the most significant moment of our Transformation/ Transfiguration into Christ! It is through the celebration of the Eucharist that we are strengthened so that we can embrace our own cross. The Transfiguring power of God in the Eucharist enables us to sacrifice ourselves for our neighbor while never forgetting that the Faithful Father will always strengthen His disciples.
The more deeply we penetrate the Pascal Mystery the more the Transfiguration becomes relevant and a source of strength and life for us. The Faithful Father is anxious to transform us. Go with Jesus up the mountain of prayer and let Jesus be transfigured before you so that God who loves and accompanies you may continually transform you into the Body of Christ!
Pope Francis in March 2014 reflected upon the Transfiguration of Christ and urged the faithful to listen to Jesus and to read a passage from the Gospel every day. We, as Jesus’ disciples, are called upon to be people who listen to His voice and take His words seriously. To listen to Jesus, we need to be near to Him, to follow Him, as did the crowds in the Gospel who ran after him through the streets of Palestine. … But we also listen to Jesus in his written Word, in the Gospel. Let me ask you a question: do you read a passage from the Gospel every day? Yes, no, yes, no, so-so. But it is important. It is a good idea to have a pocket-sized Gospel that you can carry around with you, and to read a short passage from it. At any time in the day, I take the Gospel out of my pocket and read a short passage. There we find Jesus, Who speaks to us! Think about this. It is not difficult …. We can carry just one of the Gospels, a little copy, with us at all times. Let us always keep the Gospel with us, because it is the Word of Jesus, so that we can listen to Him at all times.
Continuing his reflection on the Transfiguration, the Pope said: I would like to comment on two significant elements that can be summarized in two words – ascent and descent. We need to take time out to climb the mountain in silent space, to find ourselves and to better hear the voice of the Lord. We do this in prayer. But we cannot remain there! The encounter with God in prayer inspires us to go back down the mountain, onto the plain, where we meet many brothers and sisters who are weighed down by fatigue, injustice, ignorance and poverty, both material and spiritual. We must bring to these brothers of ours who are in difficulty the fruits of our experience with God, sharing the grace we have received…. when we listen to the Word of Jesus and commit it to our hearts that Word grows. And do you know how we make it grow? By giving it to others! The Word of Christ grows in us when we proclaim it, when we give it to others. And this is Christian life”.
Encountering the divine physician, Jesus Christ
Healing of the Paralytic (Luke 5: 17-26)
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