Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ
Ninth Sunday after Pentecost—6 August AD 2017
Ave Maria!

Raphael-The Transfiguration

Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin & English

Please pray for Alfie Evans, 14 Months old ,
another hostage of socialized medicine in Great Britain.


“This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased, hear ye Him.”[1]


    Today's Gospel is taken from Saint Matthew's 17th chapter.  I would assume that most of you are familiar with the previous chapter, in which Simon correctly identifies Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” and is given the new name of Peter (meaning “Rock”), and then our Lord announces that He will build His Church on this Rock, “and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against It.”[2] Perhaps you are not aware that the chapter continues with Jesus announcing that He “must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the ancients and scribes and chief priests, and be put to death, and the third day rise again.”[3]  To this Peter objects strenuously:  “Lord, be it far from thee, this shall not be unto thee."[4]  But our Lord insists, going so far as to refer His newly appointed Pope to be “Satan” for trying to disagree with the divine Plan.  But Jesus gives them the assurance:  “Amen I say to you, there are some of them that stand here, that shall not taste death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”[5]

    Now some erroneously interpret this promise to mean that some of the Apostles would remain alive until the second coming!  Clearly that was not the case, for we know that all of the Apostles except Saint John died for preaching the Gospel, and that Saint John died of old age near the beginning of the second century.

    The next chapter of the Gospel (today's chapter) begins some six days later, and that much closer to Jerusalem, where our Lord said He must die.  They are in southern Galilee, a bit west of the sea with the same name, where Jesus took three of them to the top of a high, dome shaped mountain known as Mount Tabor.  Peter and the sons of Zebedee, James and John, accompany Jesus to the top of the mountain, where they are privileged to see our Lord in glory, as He said they would!  Not only do they see Jesus, but He has with Him two of the most illustrious men of the Old Testament Moses and Elias (who represent the Law given by God to Moses, and the prophets of God in the line beginning with Elias).

    “Lord, it is good for us to be here”!  Says Peter, Why don't we set up a few tents and stay here for a while?  You see, Peter really doesn't want to go on to Jerusalem!  Maybe he can get Moses and Elias to drag out the conversation long enough to miss this year's Passover—long enough so that he has the opportunity of talking Jesus into something else, other than going and getting crucified.

    But then, an even more awesome Personage appears, overshadowing all of them with His brightness.  It is none less than God the Father whose brightness makes everything else impossible to see!  “No one can see God and live,” but they are seeing nothing at all other that His unmitigated glory. [6] They heard Him say: ”This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased hear ye Him,” and not surprisingly they are afraid of what might happen next. 

    But Jesus' purpose has been fulfilled.  They have seen Him in the glory of His kingdom before they died.  And with this spectacular display and the encouragement of God the Father Himself they understand that Jesus had said more than that He was going to Jerusalem “to be put to death”—He also said “and the third day to rise again.”  While that Resurrection would have been impossible for anyone else, they had the testimony of the Father that Jesus was His beloved Son—and, surely, the beloved Son of God could not stay dead very long!  Saint John Chrysostom says that the glory of Jesus was so powerful that they “would not grieve over death, either their own or the Lord's.[7])

    Years later Saint John would write in his Gospel that:

... as many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name.  Who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of  [the will of] God.”[8]

    Last week we heard Said Paul speak about the same thing: we “have received a spirit of adoption, by which we can call God ‘Abba, Father.’”[9]. And, like the Apostles, we must not grieve over death, the Lord's death or our own death for we too are sons and daughters of God.

    Pope Saint Leo the Great reminds us that the Apostles did not see God manifest in Jesus transfiguration—“what they saw was the special property of the human nature He had assumed.”[10]  All the more reason to accept the death of the Lord and not to fear our own death, for as adopted sons and daughters, sharing the human nature of Christ, there is reason to look forward to a future sharing of His glory in heaven.

    What must we do to merit this future glory?  We have received the “spirit of adoption.”  We must be “born of the will of God.”  And how do we do that?  Simple really, for the Father just told us:

“This is [Jesus is] My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased,
hear ye Him.”
Hear the word of Christ, and keep it!


[1]   Gospel: Matthew xvii:1-9

[7]   Homily 57 on Saint Matthew’s Gospel.  Lesson vii in the night Office

[9]   (8th Sunday after Pentecost)   Romans viii:12-17

[10]   Gregory the Great, Homily on the Transfiguration, Lesson vii, Second Sunday of Lent


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