But wait, I propose we dedicate this Sunday to honoring and showing our glory in the Lord.
Suppose just for today:
- Your smile is dazzling and contagious because of your joy in knowing the Lord.
- Your attitude is gentle and humble, like Jesus, even though no one was greater than Him.
- Your wisdom, counsel, forgiveness, and compassion were given generously because you have listened to the words of the Father’s beloved Son.
- You replace cynicism with gratitude, grumbling with praise, and doubt with faith because the love and mercy of Jesus have permeated your mind and heart,
and you are a new creation in Christ.
The book of Daniel provokes hope in God even though the situation seems hopeless as it portrays the condition of Israel in slavery under a pagan king. Daniel was a Jew who served in the court of the king of Babylon as a seer because of his God-given wisdom. Daniel proclaimed the reality of a living God through his visions in word and deed. “As I watched, thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days took his throne, thousands were ministering to him…” Such a proclamation could only truly be revealed by one in touch with the living God. Daniel’s conduct was nothing short of exemplary, even in non-religious settings. He unwaveringly upheld high moral standards and followed God’s laws, displaying unparalleled wisdom that surpassed everyone else in the kingdom. Daniel’s words painted vivid images in the minds of his listeners. Although they may have initially been skeptical, they were eventually led to the undeniable truth by his wisdom and conviction.
1st Reading: Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 97:1-2, 5-6, 9 2nd Reading: 2 Peter 1:16-19 Gospel: Matthew 17:1-9
Psalm 97 is a call to rejoice because the Lord has revealed Himself as king. What is your cause for rejoicing? What manifestations of the Lord have been shown to you? God revealed Himself to us in infant Baptism through the sacramental anointing of oil, the Christ candle, the prayers of the minister and parents and friends, called us His child, and wiped away original sin. We have a clean slate if baptized older, all prior sins are wiped away. Christ continues to make himself present in every sacrament and centrally the sacrament of His body and blood we receive at Mass. Christ reveals himself in prayers heard and answered and in the lives of those around us who exemplify the faith. In what ways have you reflected and responded to Christ’s revelations?
All three (synoptic) Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, sandwich the Transfiguration of the Lord account between Jesus’ first and second prediction of His passion, death, and resurrection. Being on this side of the resurrection, you and I would think these predictions had a bright side. After all, the resurrection is the highlight of Jesus’ mission on earth, and through it, Jesus promises victory for Himself and all who believe in Him. But owing to the disciple’s reaction to the passion predictions, the early Church did not take them well. When he heard the first prediction (Matthew 16:21-23), Peter was shocked and reacted accordingly, “God forbid, Lord, no such thing shall ever happen to you.” At the second prediction (Matthew 17:23), “They (disciples) were overwhelmed with grief.”
Taking their devastation to heart and realizing His words of eventual victory were not enough to calm present fears, Jesus shows them His impending glory. ‘A picture is worth a thousand words, and seeing is believing.’ So, Jesus took Peter, James, and John up the mountain to offer hope and encouragement. Jesus’ “face shone like the sun, and His clothes were white as light.” One quickly gets the idea that this is no ordinary man. Then Moses and Elijah appeared representing the Law and the Prophets (remember, Jesus said, “I have not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets but to fulfill them”). Finally, the voice of God is heard, “This is my beloved Son… listen to him.”
It’s no wonder Peter didn’t want to leave the glory of the mountain to go down and face the agony, trials, and persecution Jerusalem had waiting for him. This was obviously an unforgettable and transforming experience for Peter, James, and John, perhaps not as dramatic as the resurrection, but it prefigures it to solidify Jesus’ promise to all who persevere with him to the end, “Do not let your hearts be troubled, you have faith in God, have faith also in me…that where I am, you also may be” (John 14: 1-3).
It was good to be on the mountain, and how sweet it would have been to stay. But today’s mountaintop experience for Peter, James, and John would prepare them for the realities of life that awaited their coming down. It isn’t just in the glory moments of life that God is present to us. The Transfiguration shows that in the everyday appearance of Jesus, the divine dwelled and that beneath our externals, we have a share in the divine.
The Transfiguration is an attention-getter. While not denying the reality of life’s burdens, it refocuses our attention to the glorious possibilities in the face of those burdens life throws at us and elevates the standard of success from what pleases me to what glorifies God.
Deacon Ralph Torrelli lives in Hattiesburg and is assigned to St. Thomas Aquinas Parish. Visit his web-site: http://www.homilypearls.com.