Monday, July 31, 2017

The Transfiguration - August 6, 2017

      The Feast of the Transfiguration  - Year A

Reading I: 
Daniel 7 9-10, 13-14

Psalm:  97

Reading II:  2Peter 1:16-19

Gospel:  Matthew 17:1-9

At one time, I had a paper weight cut like a large diamond. I used to like to put it in different positions so that the sun’s rays would strike a different part of it, releasing a variety of beautiful colors. I would show it to my students and compare our reflection on one facet of it at a time to our understanding of the many aspects of God, bit by bit. To fully grasp the divinity of God is beyond our ability. Now, we cannot fully comprehend God with our finite minds. 

Another comparison I used was looking at a stained glass window when it was dark.  Once the sun shines through, colorful images delight our eyes. Sometimes, it is simply a spectacular design of colors. Other times it can be an image of a Saint or Bible story. Whatever the view, it helps to focus our minds on something glorious.

In the transfiguration, Jesus let His divinity shine through His
humanity. What a wonderful gift the Lord gave to His disciples in order to prepare them for the heart-wrenching experience of seeing Him go through the painful, humiliating Passion.

Although they had been told about the suffering to come, it was difficult for them to wrap their minds around it. They needed to be reassured that this Jesus whom they had been following was truly the Messiah. 

Jesus knew that we also would need to be reassured that He is
truly the Lord and that we too will see Him as He is. That is particularly important when we experience challenges to live according to His law of love or have heavy crosses to bear. It is a source of encouragement that, someday, we will be able to see Him as He is and live with Him forever in our Heavenly Home.

We all know people whose lives have been very difficult.
My only consolation is that they, too, will be able to enjoy the
holy presence of God in the next life if they have followed the
commandment of love which the Creator has given us.

Let us thank the Lord for showing His divinity to the apostles. Let us also be grateful to Him and all those who preserved the sacred writings so that we and the many generations to come can learn about our God and our ancestors in the faith. The Holy Scriptures are truly blessings for us. He knows what we need and always provides it for us.  

      The Lord Adonai  ( ai pronounced like “uy” in buy)
          will always guide you;          
      he will satisfy your needs in the desert,
      he will renew the strength in your limbs;
      so that you will be like a watered garden,
      like a spring whose water never fails.

                                             Isaiah 58:

Reflection:   How has the study of the Bible been a blessing in your life?  

Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...

La Transfiguración

Al mismo tiempo, tenía un peso de papel cortado como un diamante grande. Me gustaba ponerlo en diferentes posiciones para que los rayos del sol golpearan una parte diferente de ella, liberando una variedad de hermosos colores. Lo mostraría a mis estudiantes y compararía nuestra reflexión sobre una sola faceta de la misma a la vez, a nuestra comprensión de los muchos aspectos de Dios, poco a poco. Para comprender plenamente la divinidad de Dios está más allá de nuestra capacidad. Ahora, no podemos comprender plenamente a Dios con nuestras mentes finitas.

Otra comparación que usé fue mirando a una vidriera cuando estaba oscuro. Una vez que el sol brilla a través, las imágenes coloridas encantan nuestros ojos. A veces, es simplemente un espectacular diseño de colores. Otras veces puede ser una imagen de una historia santa o bíblica. Cualquiera que sea la vista, ayuda a enfocar nuestras mentes en algo glorioso.

En la transfiguración, Jesús dejó que Su divinidad brillara a través de su humanidad. ¡Qué regalo tan maravilloso el Señor dio a sus discípulos para prepararlos para la experiencia desgarradora de verlo pasar a través de la dolorosa y humillante pasión.

A pesar de que se les había dicho acerca del sufrimiento que había de venir, les era difícil envolver sus mentes alrededor de él. Necesitaban estar seguros de que este Jesús a quien habían estado siguiendo era verdaderamente el Mesías.

Jesús sabía que también tendríamos que estar seguros de que Él es
Verdaderamente el Señor y que nosotros también lo veremos como
Él es. Esto es particularmente importante cuando experimentamos desafíos para vivir de acuerdo con Su ley del amor o tenemos pesadas cruces para soportar. Es una fuente de aliento que, algún día, podremos verlo como Él es y vivir con Él para siempre en nuestro Hogar Celestial.

Todos conocemos a personas cuyas vidas han sido muy difíciles.
Mi único consuelo es que ellos también podrán disfrutar de la
Santa presencia de Dios en la próxima vida si han seguido la
Mandamiento del amor que el Creador nos ha dado.

Demos gracias al Señor por mostrar su divinidad a los apóstoles. También seamos agradecidos a El ya todos aquellos que preservaron las escrituras sagradas para que nosotros y las muchas generaciones venideras podamos aprender acerca de nuestro Dios y nuestros antepasados ​​en la fe. Las Sagradas Escrituras son verdaderamente bendiciones para nosotros. Él sabe lo que necesitamos y siempre lo proporciona para nosotros.

      El Señor Adonai (pronunciado como “uy” en compra)

          Siempre te guiará;

      Él satisfará sus necesidades en el desierto,

      Renovará la fuerza en vuestros miembros;

      Para que seas como un jardín regado,
      Como un manantial cuyo agua nunca falla.

                                             Isaías 58:11


  1. Thank you, Sister. It really is delightfully exciting to anticipate all the marvels God will reveal to us when we reach his blessed kingdom. Also, the assurance that the Lord will always guide us (Isaiah 58) is a tremendous comfort.

    The following excerpts are from a homily by Father Ambrose Bennett,
    Diocese of Lansing:

    "Today's Gospel tells of the Transfiguration of Christ, when he took Peter and James and John to a high mountain and there revealed to them his divine glory. This was a foretaste of the glory of his risen body and a sign of the dawning of Christ's Kingdom. This was true of Jesus' other miracles, for they were all signs of the Kingdom and manifestations of his powers: yet, in his other miracles, Jesus' majesty was veiled in his humanity. At the Transfiguration, the veil is lifted for a moment and the apostles
    behold Christ, not in his humiliation, but in his splendor as Light from Light and true God from true God."

    "According to Catholic tradition, the saints of the Old Testament would not yet have had the beatific vision of God, since Christ had not yet opened the gates of heaven by his death and resurrection. So, the vision of Christ's glory would be for Moses and Elijah the foretaste of a supreme joy that would soon be theirs, for they had at last seen the Messiah."

    "In this life, we are still pilgrims and must still bear the Lord's cross, knowing that 'our commonwealth is in heaven and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our lowly bodies to be like his glorious body by the power which enables him ever to subject all things to himself (Phil. 3: 20-21).' "

    "Let us ask with the prophet 'Who will dwell in your tent, O Lord; who will find rest in your holy mountain?' Let us open our eyes to the light that comes from God, the deific light; and our ears to the voice from heaven that every day calls out this charge: 'If you hear his voice today, do not harden your hearts.' (Ps. 95.8)"

    1. Dear Sr. Therese Mary, Thank you for your meaningful comments.
      You do share wonderful reflections with us. I am sorry my name headed your comment by mistake this week. Blessings, Sr. Annette

  2. Sr. Annette, I really liked your examples of the paper weight and the stained glass window. They provide very insightful visuals of light radiating through seemingly static objects. The Feast of the Transfiguration brings a few thoughts to mind for me. Most obvious is that the Divinity of Christ was revealed making it clear to the disciples, as well as to us, that Jesus is truly the Son of God. The deep love of Jesus for Peter, James, and John is demonstrated through this vision so that their trust and faith in Jesus will carry them through His Passion and Crucifixion. In the midst of this overwhelming blessing the disciples experience ecstasy as well as fear. In the “awe” moment, Peter states, “Lord it is good for us to be here.” In their fearful moment Jesus “touches” them and invites them to arise.
    We all have mountain top experiences – moments when we feel so in sync with the world that we sense the nearness of God – followed by those times when we feel fragile and helpless and fear abandonment. There is an awesome new Christian song entitled, “Hills and Valleys” by Tauren Wells and he sings of life’s hills and valleys emphasizing that through them all God is with us and we are not alone. It is God’s grace that brings us through the highs and lows of life:
    “On the mountains I will bow my life to the One who set me there.
    In the valley I will lift my eyes to the One who sees me there.
    When I’m standing on the mountain I didn’t get there on my own
    When I’m walking through the valley I know I am not alone
    You’re God of the hills and valley, hills and valleys
    God of the hills and valley, and I am not alone.”

    I also associate Transfiguration with being changed in form. As a toddler, my youngest son loved nature and insects. He was fascinated with butterflies. One Christmas “Santa” surprised him with a butterfly kit complete with live caterpillars. We were able to watch caterpillars change into chrysalides and emerge as beautiful butterflies. They fluttered about like free spirits, but only after having gone through a long metamorphic process of growth and change. Just as the caterpillar must go through a physical metamorphosis to change into a butterfly; so too must we endure the necessary changes and challenges to achieve the spiritual transformation that will free our soul to emerge into the Light.

    As we make our way out of the valley we will feel the touch of Jesus as He ascends the mountain with us. The journey is a divine partnership fueled by grace. With each climb we are being transformed into His likeness, His holiness. St. Paul spoke of being transformed by the renewing of the mind. The Transfiguration account invites us to do just that. We have so many opportunities to grow in closeness to the Lord: prayer, scripture reading, time spent in the Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, Eucharist - all are spiritual practices that will root us more deeply in the faith and lead us to surrender to His will. We can then share in St. Peter’s words, “Lord it is good for us to be here.” “Here” meaning to live our daily lives in Christ consciousness.

    With their descent from the mountain, the disciples’ lives were forever changed. Very soon thereafter they began to undergo distressing trials and walk the path to their own transfigurations. From their pain emerged their mission. This is meant to be our path as well. Let us remember that it is a hopeful undertaking because we know that our final transfiguration will come with the Resurrection of the Body, as we profess in the Christian Creed. Perhaps this week we can give some thought as to how the Light of the Transfiguration has contributed to our growth as disciples of Jesus. Blessings to all, Pat C., ASBS

  3. Dear Pat, The lyrics to that song are awesome. Some day I would love to hear the tune. Thanks for all the inspiration you provide for us. Blessings on you and yours, Sr. Annette