Daniel 7: 9-10, 13-14; “The one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship; all peoples, nations, and languages serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.”
Psalm 97: 1-2, 5-6, 9 “…The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth.”
2 Peter 1: 16-19 “…’This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’…’”
Luke 9: 28b-36 “…While he was praying his face became dazzling white. And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem….”
All of today’s readings speak of the Transfiguration of our Lord; when the Lord led three of his apostles, Peter, James, and John away to a mountain. And “while He was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white”. (Luke 9:29) God’s Glory shone for mere mortals to see on that day. And note the mention of Jesus being in prayer. He was always inviting his disciples to prayer, and today’s revelation occurred while Jesus was in prayer with God, whom He called Father. Let us recognize this as our invitation and call to prayer; which has the ability to lead us to union with the God of the Universe. The feeling of being one with God is spoken of with contemplative prayer; a resting in the Lord.
The Gospels of Matthew and Mark also record this event and mention as well that while Jesus was transfigured the three apostles saw him conversing with two men, “Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:30) It is hard to imagine how these human beings could behold such an event, let alone be still about it afterwards. By and by they were being given the plan, and it was not time for their world to see God’s Glory. So Jesus admonished the men to keep still about what they saw until His resurrection from the dead. Like them, we see things happening in our lives that we do not fully understand all the time. Why were these three allowed to see Jesus this way, and what did rising from the dead mean, they wondered? Some of what they saw and heard they had to accept on trust, as do we. If we let ourselves believe what these men witnessed in the Transfiguration, our lives will be changed as well. Those of us who understand His reference to “His resurrection” have the benefit of hindsight. May we use this to increase our Trust in Jesus as we sort out what is happening in our own lives.
In the second reading we see the effect of the Transfiguration experience working in Peter’s life. His strong conviction of knowing Jesus was God comes through in his message. He tells the people that they (Jesus’ disciples) are not speaking of cleverly devised myths, for they have been witnesses to His majesty. They saw Jesus receive “honor and glory from God the Father”. And further he references hearing the “voice from heaven” say “This is my son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” (2 Peter 1: 17).
We see how powerful God is, and how being in and with Him the apostles experienced power beyond understanding. But lest we conceive God as only being about force, power and might, we are reminded to watch how Jesus operated. Primarily He spent his time with those the world would dub the most unfortunate. He was not about power and control, or He could have prevented His own death. Instead he chose His leaders from among the ordinary and he did not shy away from sinners or the downcast; he walked with every imaginable person. The most learned and proud were humbled by his Wisdom, and the most fortunate were moved to a conversion of heart. Today, we remember our call to be witnesses to His Glory in the retelling of this story. We remember the God-made-Man is in fact God; and as the song goes, “God is God, and we are not.” This was foretold in our first reading, and the vision of the Prophet written in the Book of Daniel where we read “The one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship…His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away…” (Daniel 7:14).
But while God is powerful, Jesus taught that the meek shall inherit the earth. So we look to God and His power to help us cope in the moment as we live in this world. Jesus calls us to follow Him for His Kingdom is at hand. With our earthly eyes and view of power, we might like to see our enemies scattered. But with eyes of faith we know Jesus asked us to love our enemies. It is as if He wants us to invite everyone to join us on our earthly journey. Although He surely displayed a godly power on that day; by his everyday example, He showed us a different way. Of course until the apostles saw Jesus succumb to his captors, sealing his fate of death on the cross, we know the apostles thought things would end differently. We know that seeing all that they had seen, being with Jesus day in and day out, they still were filled with so much fear the night he was led away. But, they found their strength when they finally understood what Jesus meant when he told them of His Resurrection (celebrated at Easter). That day He conquered death; which was followed up by His Ascension into heaven
So, finally let us ask what is in our hearts as we read from the Liturgy of Hours for today, some of the Sermon by Anastasius of Sinai, bishop: “Therefore, since each of us possesses God in his heart and is being transformed into his divine image, we also should cry out with joy: It is good for us to be here - …where God is seen. For here, in our hearts, Christ takes up his abode together with the Father, saying as he enters: Today salvation has come to this house. With Christ, our hearts receive all the wealth of his eternal blessings, and there where they are stored up for us in him, we see reflected as in a mirror both the first fruits and the whole of the world to come.” (Volume IV, pg. 1285-86)
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