Skip to main content

Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

This week we interrupt this cycle of Ordinary Time to celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord.  This is a fixed-date feast that falls on the 6th of August, so when it falls on a Sunday our usual readings are put aside because the readings for the feast take precedence…


Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
Psalm 97:1-2, 5-6, 9
2 Peter 1:16-19
Matthew 17:1-9

We open with a reading from the Book of the prophet Daniel.  The Book of Daniel is an unusual work, taking its name not from its author but from its main character, Daniel, a Jewish captive being held in the prisons of King Nebuchadnezzar during the Exile.  The book itself, however, is dated some 350 years after the events of the Exile, and is written in a “apocalyptic” style that doesn’t come into vogue until around 200 BCE.  Not only is the book’s literary style unusual, its classification is also unusual.  Listed as one of the major prophetic works, it could be classified as historical, poetic, or wisdom literature.  Much of the book is devoted to his many visions that promise deliverance for God’s people, be it deliverance from Babylon in the 5th century BCE or Greeks and Romans of the 2nd century BCE.

Our passage from Daniel for this Feast of the Transfiguration is from one of his visions of the Judgement.  Here Daniel sees the “Ancient One” mounting his throne, followed by “one like a Son of man” receiving dominion over all peoples and nations.  Certainly a fitting image for our Feast of the Transfiguration, and our Psalm picks up this theme as we sing “The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth.”

Our second reading comes from the second letter of Peter.  In the opening of this second letter Peter explains how their testimony to Christ is authentic by virtue of his being witness to the events of the Gospels… in this case, to the moment of the Transfiguration where God exclaims “this is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

Our Gospel from Matthew then takes us to the moment of the Transfiguration itself, where Jesus invites Peter, James, and John up the mountain.  Here they are witness to Jesus transfigured, in dazzling white, conversing with Moses and Elijah, followed by the voice of God saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”  The apostles are stunned, but Jesus exhorts them to not tell anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.

Final thoughts:
Why does Jesus always seem to be telling his Apostles not to say anything after seeing a miracle?  This is a topic of great debate with many different answers.  And there may not be one single answer for this phenomenon, because as with all questions related to scripture, we Catholics must also look at the context of the situation.  Very often after Jesus heals someone he will tell them not to tell anyone.  Why?  There are several valid reasons.  One could be that Jesus doesn’t want the attention, feeling that it distracts from his larger mission.  One could be that Jesus doesn’t want his miracles to overshadow his message.  Another valid excuse could be Jesus using reverse psychology… telling them not to tell only increases the possibility that they will and thus increase his popularity. 

All these could be valid, but our story today takes this idea of not telling anyone to a deeper level.  Here Jesus is quite specific… don’t tell anyone “until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”  Jesus actually wants them to tell the story of the Transfiguration.  He took them up on the mountain specifically for this purpose.  But Jesus also knows that there’s a time and place for everything, and now was not the time.  There was still more Jesus needed to do.  There was sill more for the Apostles needed to see and do.  In this case, our Apostles see something miraculous, that is not only illuminating but validating.  But there is still much more to come.  The story is still not complete.  Only through the experience of Jesus death and resurrection can our salvation be gained, and the glory of that moment makes the glory of this moment that much more clear.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Post-Lent review... How did you do?

Lent is now behind us, yet in our excitement for Easter (and for Lent being over), how often to you take a moment to look back at your Lenten journey to do a post-game review?

As a volunteer leader and business school graduate, the concept of doing a formal "review" after an event or activity is a long held important practice... one that, unfortunately, tends to get overlooked even at the highest levels.  Still, it remains a staple of standard practice, and for good reason... It affords those involved, and the entire organization, a chance to review everything after the fact... what went well, what didn't, and lay the groundwork for next time.  The same is true for looking back at our Lenten journey.  So... how did you do?

I have to be honest, I sometimes fail to practice what I preach.  For as important as a post-lenten review might be, I hadn't thought of the idea until now.  I didn't even really think about it until this morning when I read the following artic…

5th Sunday of Easter

What happens when you have too much of a good thing?  When a business wins that lucrative new contract or expands into a new location?  Or taking that same idea a bit closer to home, what happens when two families merge through marriage, or when a family welcomes a new child?  We consider this kind of growth to be a good thing, but as with all things, these successes also come with their own baggage.  Our readings for this 5th Sunday of Easter have our Apostles facing similar challenges in the face of their growing successes.

The Word for the 5th Sunday of Easter Acts 6:1-7
Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19
1 Peter 2:4-9
John 14:1-12

Our reading from Acts of the Apostles learning the hard way about the challenges that grow out of their continued success when their number of followers continues to grow.  Up to this point the Apostles have been doing their best to address the needs of the community, both spiritual and physical, but the community has grown so large now that they are becom…

3rd Sunday of Easter

Easter is about revelation!  On Easter Sunday we revealed that the tomb was found empty.  Last week Jesus revealed himself to the Apostles in the upper room, reminding us that “Blessed are those who have not seen, but still believe.”  This Third Sunday of Easter, Jesus is revealed through the breaking of the Bread.


The Word for the 3rd Sunday of Easter Acts 2:14, 22-33
Psalm 16:2, 5, 7-11
1 Peter 1:17-21
Luke 24:13-35

In our first reading from Acts of the Apostles we have Peter, discovering his voice and standing before all of Jerusalem giving witness about who Jesus was and what happened there.  It’s both a reminder to those present who also witnessed these events, and a much necessary explanation for those who (like us) were not there (especially Luke’s primarily Gentile audience).  The heart of Peter’s message reminds us that this messiah was killed by his own people, but through that act, as prophesied by their greatest king, David, has been raised by God, and sends his Ho…