March 17, 2019

2nd Sun., Lent

March 17, 2019:  Second Sunday of Lent

See about two dozen connections with today?
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Jesus' transfiguration was a place of light, a fascinating symbol of the unique experience reserved for Peter, James and John.  It took place right after he confided to his disciples that he must suffer, be killed, and rise again.  It shows us the Christian perspective of suffering:  it's a necessary but transitory passage.  The point of arrival we're called to is as luminous as the face of the transfigured Christ.  By showing his glory, Jesus assures us that Easter will resolve the cross, the trials, the difficulties we struggle with.  So let us climb the mountain with Jesus, through prayer.  Remain for a few moments in recollection, fix your gaze on his face, and let his light pervade you and radiate into your life.
Jesus transfigured himself while he was praying, immersed in an intimate conversation with the Father and while adhering with to the Father's will, including the cross.  God's glory invaded him, shining forth also from the outside.  Prayer in Christ and in the Spirit transforms us from within and can enlighten others and the surrounding world.
Read
  • Gn 15:5-12, 17-18  Lord / Abram:  “Your descendants shall be as numerous as the stars.”  Abram put his faith in the Lord, who credited it to him as righteousness.  “I am the Lord who brought you from Ur to give you this land.” / “How will I know?” / “Bring me a heifer, a she-goat, a ram, a turtledove, and a pigeon.” / He did.  Birds swooped down on the carcasses, but he stayed.  A trance fell upon him.  A fire pot and torch passed between the pieces.  The Lord made a covenant with Abram:  “To your descendants I give this land.”
  • Ps 27:1, 7-9, 13-14  "The Lord is my light and my salvation."  Whom should I fear?  Hear my call; have pity on me.  I seek you.  I believe I'll see the Lord's bounty.  Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted.
  • Phil 3:17—4:1  Imitate me.  Many conduct themselves as enemies of the cross, headed for destruction; their God is their belly, and their minds are occupied with earthly things.  But we're citizens of heaven and await a Savior who will change our body to conform with his.  So stand firm in the Lord.
  • Lk 9:28b-36  Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up to pray.  His face changed, his clothing became dazzling white, and Moses and Elijah were conversing with him.  Peter and his companions woke up and saw his glory and the men.  Peter told Jesus, “Master, it's good we're here; let's make three tents....”  A cloud cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened.  A voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son; listen to him.”  Then Jesus was alone....
Reflect
  • Creighton:  In the 1st reading, God makes a covenant with Abram that his descendents will be numerous as the stars.  St. Patrick was a person of faith and his spiritual descendents numerous; he was a model for those who would come after him.  Paul says modeling the faith is important because some conduct themselves as enemies of the cross, desiring only material gain and earthly satisfaction. Patrick was kidnapped and enslaved at 16.  Later, his plans to take the gospel to Ireland were opposed.  He recounted 12 near-death experiences and endured insults, persecution, imprisonment, and slander.  His character was questioned; he was accused of being motivated by greed.  The transfiguration story sheds light on why Patrick was successful:  He listened to Jesus, as the Father's voice commanded:  "I’ll never stop giving thanks to my God, who kept me faithful in the time of my temptation. I can with confidence offer my soul to Christ,... who defended me in all my difficulties.  I can say: Who am I, Lord, or what is my calling, that you have worked with me?...  This is how I come to praise and magnify your name among the nations all the time, wherever I am, in good times and difficult ones.  Whatever comes about for me,... I accept and give thanks to God, who has shown me I can put my faith in him without wavering." (Patrick, Confessio §34).
    Преображение (Transfiguration)/ Ivanov
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Love and daily dyings":  Jesus commanded us to take up our cross each day.  A Roman cross was only to cause death.  A daily cross is dying to self, a life of love, the greatest expression of freedom, but it takes so much love that we may not choose it and so be paralyzed by selfishness and fear.  Only by obeying the Lord can we be freed to choose the way of love.
Jesus takes us up Transfiguration mountain where the veil is removed from the hidden Christ so we can see the Christ of glory.  This may happen through the sacraments, the Bible, the poor, a healing, a miracle, a birth, a blessing, or other experience. When we see Christ transfigured, we're led to a new Pentecost, where the Spirit proclaims Jesus is Lord.  Knowing in head and heart that Jesus is Lord, we listen to him, even about the love-filled life of crosses and dyings. In submission to the transfigured Lord, we're free to love as he did, even to death.
  • Passionist:  The transfiguration account begins in an ordinary way:  Jesus calls Peter, James, and John up a mountain, with no suggestion anything special will happen.  But then his face changes, his clothing dazzles, and Moses and Elijah appear.  No wonder the apostles wake up.  Peter is so spellbound that that he doesn't want to leave, maybe because he now sees Jesus is the revelation of God's love, goodness, and holiness.  Perhaps Jesus took them up not to draw attention to him but to teach that his glory can be ours. If we “listen to him,” God can enable us to be transfigured in his love, goodness, and holiness; it's possible if we don't let our minds get “occupied with earthly things”  We must remember “our citizenship is in heaven,” where Christ will “change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body.”
  • DailyScripture.net:  "Jesus transfigured in glory":  Faith enables us to see what the eye can't.  Through faith Abraham recognized God and his call.  Abraham is the father of faith because he hoped in God's promises.  Faith gives us a taste of God's glory.  When the disciples saw Jesus transfigured. Jesus' face changed and his clothing became dazzling white.  When Moses met with God on Sinai his skin shone because he had been talking with God.  The Israelites couldn't look at Moses' face because of its brightness.  Jesus appeared in glory with lawgiver Moses and great prophet Elijah in the presence of his beloved apostles Peter, James, and John.  Jesus went up knowing the cross awaited him.  The Father glorified Jesus because he obeyed.  The cloud fulfilled the Jews' dream that when the Messiah came, the cloud of God's presence would fill the temple.  Jesus wants to share this glory with us.  He shows us the way:  follow him.  Jesus went to Calvary so Paradise would be restored to us; he embraced the cross to obtain the crown of glory, a crown that awaits us if we follow him.
"When he is transfigured, his face shines as the sun that he may be manifested to the children of light who have put off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light... and walk honestly as in the day.  Being manifest, he will shine unto them... as the sun of righteousness" (Origen)
Peter, James, and John didn't discover the transfigured Jesus till they awoke.  How much do we miss of God's glory and action because we're asleep spiritually?  Mental lethargy, an "unexamined life," a life of ease, prejudice, or sorrow can keep us asleep till we get past it.  We, like Peter, James, and John, are called to be witnesses of Jesus' glory.
    St. Patrick (though Sunday-trumped)

    • Universalis:  Patrick, missionary bishop, Ireland patron saint, remembered for simplicity and pastoral care, humble trust in God, and fearless preaching to those who enslaved him in youth; see also New Advent.
      Dress legend
      • 'Cow' pin:  Abram brought God a 3-year-old heifer (1st reading)
      • 'Sun' pin:  A trance fell on Abram as sun was about to set (1st reading)
      • 'Fire' pin:  A smoking fire pot appeared (1st reading)
      • 'Star' tie pin:  “Your descendants will be as numerous as the stars.” (1st reading)
      • 'Bird' tie pin:  Birds of prey swooped down... (1st reading)
      • 'Scroll' pin:  The Lord made a covenant with Abram (1st reading); our citizenship is in heaven (2nd reading)
      • 'Street light' tie bar:  The Lord is my light (psalm)
      • 'Phone' tie bar:  "Lord, hear and answer my call" (psalm)
      • 'Heart' pin:  My heart speaks of you; be stouthearted (psalm)
      • 'Eyeball' pin:  I believe I'll see the Lord's bounty in the land of the living (psalm)
      • 'Musical notes with "joy"' pin, 'crown' tie bar:  You are my joy and my crown (2nd reading)
      • 'Clock' tie bar:  Wait for the Lord with courage (psalm); we await a Savior (2nd reading)
      • 'Cross' pin:  Many conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ (2nd reading)
      • 'Crown' tie bar:  My brothers and sisters, my joy and my crown, stand firm (2nd reading)
      • 'Alps' pin:  Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain (gospel)
      • Tie with clouds:  A cloud came and cast a shadow over them (gospel)
      • White and green shirt, green in suspenders, white socks:  Jesus' clothes became dazzling white (gospel); green for St. Patrick
      • Purple in suspenders:  Lenten season