Mass Readings

1st Reading: Gen 15:5 – 12;17 – 18
Psalm 26
2nd Reading: Phil 3:17 – 4:1
Gospel Lk 9:28 – 36

Reflection 1

In the letter to the Ephesians, St Paul prays for all of us ‘that we may be able to comprehend with all the saints, what is the breadth, the length, the height and depth of the mystery of Christ Jesus, the Beloved Son’ ……….

In today’s Gospel what can we learn, experience in faith and in love about the Person of Jesus? St Luke in his account of the Transfiguration has a telling phrase ‘as He (Jesus) prayed ….the aspect of His face was changed and His clothing became brilliant as lightning.’ This is the one moment in His life that Jesus allowed His Divinity to show in His Person. The joy and celebration of that moment are signified by the white and dazzling garments which we will see again after the Resurrection on the Risen Christ.

The mysteries of Jesus are ours as much as they are His because we are one with Him through Baptism. God the Father chose us in Christ, St. Paul tells us. Each time the Father looks at Christ He sees and loves us as He loves Christ. Faith alone can receive this message as love alone has given it. Our gratitude and response of love are unbounded.

How does Jesus grace us in this particular mystery? Three times only in the Gospels does the heavenly Father cause His voice to be heard by the world and what does He say? ‘This is my Son the chosen one. Listen to Him’. From this declaration we can discern the wonderful graces granted to us in this mystery.

Our faith, the mysterious participation in the knowledge that God has of Himself, is strengthened. Jesus is declared God’s Son. Divinity shines powerfully through the veil of His humanity. The eternal glory of Jesus, our Master is fully revealed to the apostles and to us.

If by our baptism, we are one with Christ, we become the adopted children of the Father by grace. But to be transformed, like unto the Son, we must be conformed by following Him who is our Way, our Truth, our Life per crucem ad lucem. Here below by grace we are God’s children, ’but it has not yet appeared what we shall be.’ St Paul tells us in the second reading of today’s Mass: ‘The Lord Jesus Christ will transfigure these wretched bodies of ours into copies of His own glorious body’.

Jesus, we thank you for giving us the hope of seeing your glory in our true homeland of heaven and of sharing for all eternity in the very life of the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our hope is firm and anchored deep in our hearts because of You and what You have done for us, sinners.
Thank you

Reflection 2

Last week’s liturgy presented us with a picture of Jesus alone in the desert struggling with Satan and overcoming very subtle temptations.

Today’s liturgy invites us to join Jesus and the three apostles, Peter, John and James as they go up the mountain to pray. We can only guess how awesome this experience must have been for the apostles. All three synoptic Gospels recount the incident. St Luke (whose Gospel we follow this year) tells us that as Jesus prayed “the aspect of His face was changed and His clothing became brilliant as lightning” – revealing Who He really was – the Eternal Son of the Father, become man for us and our salvation.

Christian prayer has its source in the fact that we are ‘in Christ’ through Baptism and share in Jesus’ relationship with His Father – able to cry ‘Abba, Father’! When we pray we believe that we too are changed as Jesus was on the mountain – although now this happens in the darkness of faith, yet it is a reality.

According to Luke Moses and Elijah speak to Jesus about “His passing (His Exodus i.e. Passion) which He is to accomplish in Jerusalem” – after the Resurrection, in Chapter 24 of his Gospel, Luke will have Jesus tell the disciples on the road to Emmaus that the Law (symbolised by Moses) and the Prophets (symbolised by Elijah) had foretold that He should suffer and so enter into His glory. (Lk 24: 25ff).

Peter misses the point of what is happening – he is so caught up with the sight of Jesus’ glory that he pays no attention to the conversation of Moses and Elijah. Then the cloud (symbol of God’s Presence) comes and covers them in shadow and from the cloud they hear the Father’s voice: “This is my Son, the chosen One. Listen to Him!” We can learn a lot from this scene – are we too inclined to seek after ‘good experiences’ in prayer? and feel that we are wasting our time when we experience the darkness – which is part and parcel of most of our prayer? It was in the cloud that the voice of the Father was heard. So let us be encouraged to persevere in the darkness of faith and listen for the voice of the Father and the voice of Jesus who speaks to our hearts if we allow all the other noises to be silenced.

I asked myself what could this ‘voice’ be saying to me today? What could it be saying to all of us Christians in today’s world – surrounded as we are by so much suffering (caused by men and women as well as natural disasters), violence, war, hatred, betrayal, sexual immorality, hurt, resentment, revenge, broken hearts and broken bodies ……the list is endless and there seems to be no solution. As I reflected on all this pain and suffering, I remembered Jesus’ words on the Cross “Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing”.

How different our world would be if all of us could try to listen to these words of Jesus and act upon them – it would seem that many of us have forgotten that forgiveness and mercy are at the heart of the Christian Gospel. After all Jesus has told us that he came “to seek out and save those who were lost” (Lk 19:10).