Saturday of the 6th Week of the Year

Mk 9:2-13

The Transfiguration of Jesus

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

The transfiguration is an event that seals the identity of Jesus, in a dazzling display of light, as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, the Messiah who has to suffer, die and rise again.

It is a foretaste of the resurrection, a greater event of immeasurable and undescribable proportions. No wonder there were no actual witnesses in the resurrection, while in the transfiguration Peter, James and John were able to behold the transfigured Jesus in all His ethereal glory but even then they were out of their senses, with the usually glib Peter, for want of something to say, opining the erection of booths/tents, in effect suggesting permanence. Peter and companions did not want to end the experience. They wished to savor the delight, without a thought as to its meaning. Naturally who would do serious mental exercises in such a heightened condition?

Fortunately, Jesus cut the experience. To let them know what the transfiguration meant, they went down the mountain, a place of theophanies for the Jews, back to the plains where God also dwells, back to reality. Reality is the playground of meaning, the stage where Jesus the main character lived the conflicts of joy and grief, of rejection and acceptance, of suffering and wholeness, of death and resurrection.

In life we seek meaning from the perspective of Christ and that in a sense bathes our life experiences in light – our moments of transfiguration in the playground of reality. (Fr. Gerry Donato, SVD Bible Diary 2004)

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On September 6, 1995, Cal Ripken, Jr. broke the baseball record that many believed would never be broken; Lou Gehrig’s iron-man feat of playing 2,131 consecutive games. Ripken, Jr. gives much of the credit for his accomplishments to the example and teaching of his father Cal Ripken, Sr. who played minor league baseball and coached and managed the Orioles.

During the 1996 season, Cal Ripken Sr. was introduced into the Orioles Hall of Fame. After he gave his acceptance speech, the son came to the microphone, an emotional recalled in his book, The Only Way I Know: “It was difficult. I wasn’t certain I could say what I wanted about my father and what he means to me. So I told a little story about my two children, Rachel, six at that time and Ryan, then three.

“They’d been bickering for weeks and I explained how one day I heard Rachel taunt Ryan, ‘You’re just trying to be like Daddy.’ After a few moments of indecision, I asked Rachel, ‘What’s wrong with what to be like Dad?’ When I finished telling the story, I looked at my father and added, ‘That’s what I’ve always tried to do – to be like Dad.’” (Mark Link, Daily Homilies).

In the Transfiguration scene, God the Father presents to us His Beloved Son Jesus Christ and tells us to listen to Him, to try to be like Him, to copy Him, to make Him our role model or idol.

Can we honestly say: “That’s what I’ve always tried to do, to be like Christ in my life?” (Fr. Fred Mislang, SVD Bible Diary 2008)

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One of the songs in the musical Evita is “You Must Love Me.” Eva Peron sung this before the finale and somehow summed everything that she wanted to say: Where do we go from here? This isn’t where we intended to be. We had it all. You believed in me, I believe in you. And this part of the song was the first thing that came to mind when I was reflecting on the gospel today. WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

We have read the passage on the great transfiguration story over and over again. Many Bible scholars have focus on the importance of the transfiguration experience; some have expounded on the presence of Moses, the great lawgiver, and Elijah, the greatest among the prophets. Still others put the spotlight on the words of the father: “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him.” Of course, we can focus our reflection on any of these moments in the story. However, what is clear in the picture is that Jesus, Peter, James and John did not stay long in the mountain. The apostles might have asked the same question, “What’s next? What do we do with the fabulous experience? Where do we go from here?”

We all have our own “transfiguration experience.” Sometimes we want to cling to them and hold on to the “bliss” that envelops us. Just like the apostles, we also say, “t is good that we are here!” but we are also aware that even good things never last. At the end of the day, we have to go down from the mountain. However, even if experiences of bliss do not last a lifetime we know that we learned something from them. We know that we are changed forever by our experiences in life. Let us pray to Jesus, the beloved Son of God, to continue to accompany us as we try to move on in our life and to answer the question: Where do we go from here? (Fr. Kaloi Macatangga, SVD Bible Diary 2009)

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See Today’s Readings: Year I ,   Year II

Back to: Saturday of the 6th Week of the Year

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