August 6, 2017

Transfiguration

August 6, 2017:  Transfiguration of the Lord

How many connections (>16) can you find?
Legend below
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For next Sunday:  Psalm 85:  Let us see your kindness/ Celoni:  sheet music, just written
The Lord's Transfiguration offers us a message of hope:  it invites us to encounter Jesus and serve others.  The disciples’ journey to Mt. Tabor helps us reflect on the importance of detaching ourselves from worldly things to complete our journey to the heights and contemplate Jesus.  We must conform ourselves to Christ’s attitude of listening and prayer to welcome God's Word into our lives.  Times of rest and of detachment from daily occupations can restore strength and deepen the spiritual journey.
But these heights aren't an end in themselves.  The disciples were transfigured by the Transfiguration experience.  We too can come down recharged by the Spirit's power, take new steps of conversion, and bear daily witness to charity, so we may be signs of God's life-giving love for all, especially the suffering.  The Father says, “This is my beloved Son.  Listen to him!”  Look to Mary, Virgin of Listening, and pray she help us enter into symphony with the Word, that Christ might become our light and guide.
Read

Verklärung Christi/ Lotto
  • Dn 7:9-10, 13-14  The Ancient One took his throne, clothing bright as snow, hair white as wool; myriads attended him.  One like a Son of man came on the clouds and received everlasting dominion and glory; all peoples serve him.
  • Ps 97:1-2, 5-6, 9  "The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth."  Justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne.  Mountains melt like wax before him.  All peoples see his glory.
  • 2 Pt 1:16-19  We're eyewitnesses of Christ's majesty.  He received glory from the Father who declared, “This is my Son, my beloved....”  We heard this voice from heaven on the holy mountain.  Be attentive to the reliable prophetic message we have, as to a lamp shining in the dark till the morning star rises in your hearts.
  • Mt 17:1-9  Jesus took Peter, James, and John up a mountain and was transfigured before them; his face shone, his clothes became white as light, and Moses and Elijah were with him.  Peter:  “Lord, it's good we're here.  If you wish, I'll make three tents for you.”  A bright cloud cast a shadow over them from which came a voice:  “This is my beloved Son, with whom I'm pleased; listen to him.”  The disciples fell prostrate and were afraid, but Jesus touched them and said, “Rise, and don't fear.”  When they raised their eyes, they saw Jesus alone.  Jesus:  “Tell no one till the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
Reflect
  • Creighton:  Jesus' suffering/death and resurrection both represent the glory the Son received from the Father.  Transfiguration/crucifixion parallels:  Jesus in glory/shame, clothes dazzling white/stripped, Jesus with Moses and Elijah/thieves, surrounded by shining cloud/darkness (Wright[See Beachey's post for a comparison/contrast from Allison's CBQ article.]  Our lives are filled with both 'transfiguration' and 'crucifixion' experiences (e.g., births, honors, blessings / losses, illness).  Acknowledge God's glory in the crucifixion; it shines through if we let it in.
    Transfiguration of Christ,
    from iconostasis (12th c.)
    More Transfiguration art
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Bombs away":  The voice said, "This is my Son; listen to him," but the apostles didn't listen, even after Jesus rose.  Finally, after he ascended, they listened some by remaining in Jerusalem till they were baptized with the Spirit.  At this first Christian Pentecost, they received the Spirit's power; a spiritual bomb exploded, and they listened to Jesus.  As we sorrowfully remember the bombing of Hiroshima, we also see the Transfiguration as bringing together a "critical mass" of spiritually explosive material; the bomb exploded at Pentecost.  The Pentecost bomb causes us to listen to Jesus, though other bombs cause us to not listen.  Choose your bomb.
  • Passionist:  At the Transfiguration Peter, James and John get a glimpse of the glorified Jesus whom they'll see more fully at the Resurrection.  They also see Moses and Elijah and hear the voice, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”  They fall down in fear, then Jesus touches them and says, “Rise; don't fear.”  We get glimpses of resurrection and life but may still be afraid.  If we let Jesus touch us, we can get up and keep going!  No matter how dark the place, we can look to Jesus and let the “morning star” rise in us.  Are we willing to listen to Jesus, rise, and let go of fear?  We can't stay on the mountain; we're called to go out to the world, proclaim the Good News, share God's love even with the lowest and those who seem to be against us, and work for the peace that flows from justice.  How?  God can transfigure us and heal us of fear and all that hinders us from our call.  Dare we hope to be transfigured and to help transfigure the world?...
Transfiguration/ Ivanov
  • DailyScripture.net:  "Listen to my beloved Son":  God is eager to share his glory with us!  When Moses met with God on Sinai, his face shone.  Paul says the Israelites couldn't look at Moses' face.  Jesus went to the mountain knowing betrayal, rejection, and crucifixion awaited him.  The Father glorified his obedient son.  The cloud fulfilled the Jews' dream that when the Messiah came, the cloud of God's presence would fill the temple again.  The Lord wants to share his glory with us.  He shows us the way:  follow me, take the path I've chosen for you, and you'll receive the blessings of the kingdom.   Jesus embraced the cross to obtain the glory that awaits each of us who follow him.
"Jesus' face shines as the sun that he may be manifested to the children of light who have put off works of darkness, put on the armor of light, and become children of day, walking honestly.  He'll shine on them as the sun of righteousness." (Origen) 
How much do we miss of God's glory and action because we're asleep spiritually, e.g. from mental lethargy, an unexamined life, or a life of ease, can keep us asleep to God.  Prejudice or sorrow can blind us to something the Lord may have for us.  We, called to be witnesses of Christ's glory, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another....  The Lord wants to reveal his glory to us, his beloved disciples.  Do you seek his presence with faith and reverence?
  • Universalis:  The Transfiguration can sound magical.  There's no reason for it to have happened or for it to be put into the gospel; that's the strength of it as history.   Through it we see that Jesus is a prophet and the one prophesied by them; and that he's God, living in dazzling light.  The true Transfiguration miracle is not the shining face or white garments, but that the rest of the time he hid his glory so well.
Dress legend
  • 'Fire' pin:  His throne was flames of fire... (1st reading)
  • 'Mountain' tie pin:  "The mountains melt like wax before the Lord" (psalm); "we heard the Father's voice while we were on the holy mountain" (2nd reading); Jesus led them up a high mountain (gospel)
  • 'Olympics' tie pin:  All peoples, nations, and languages serve him (1st reading); let earth rejoice (psalm)
  • 'Street light' tie bar:  Be attentive to the prophetic message as to a lamp shining in the dark... (2nd reading)
  • 'Star' and 'hearts' pins:  "... until the morning star rises in your hearts." (2nd reading)
  • Tie with clouds, students (likely with books in backpacks):  One coming on the clouds of heaven; The books were opened (1st reading); clouds and darkness are round about the Lord (psalm); a cloud cast a shadow; from the cloud came a voice... (gospel)
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  His kingship shall not be destroyed (1st reading); the Lord is king (psalm)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  We were eyewitnesses of our Lord's majesty (2nd reading); when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw only Jesus; "don't tell anyone the vision yet" (gospel)
  • 'Sun' pin:  Jesus' face shone like the sun (gospel)
  • White shirt:  "His clothing was bright as snow and hair white as wool" (1st reading); "His clothes became white as light" (gospel) 
Special greetings to and prayers for the community at
Transfiguration parishelementary school, and preschool, Los Angeles