Sunday, March 12, 2017

Today's readings & reflection

FIRST READING (Genesis 12:1-4a)
The Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 

“And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonours you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” 

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. 

Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan.

SECOND READING (2 Timothy 1:8-10) 
Do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

GOSPEL  (Matthew 17:1-9)
Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 

And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 

And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 

He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” 

When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.” 

(1) Wisdom from C.S. Lewis
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another.” (2 Corinthians 3: 18)

We are being transformed into his likeness “from glory to glory.” That is what God is doing in us - changing us. It does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know this: we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is (1 John 3:1-2)! God is changing us, day by day, as we allow his glory to shine in us. In the light of his glory we see things differently. The sacred liturgy - the Eucharist - is our Mount Tabor, and that’s why we should never stay away!

In the last sermon he gave, entitled The Weight of Glory”, C.S. Lewis considers just what it means to really see people as they shall be, reflecting the glory or shame that is to come:

“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.

“All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal . . . Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour he is holy in almost the same way, for in him the Christ . . . the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself-is truly hidden. God’s glory is hidden in us and revealed when we truly worship. Seek out God’s presence, for God changes us by his glory.”

(2) Listen to my beloved Son - Word of Life Community

(3) The Transfiguration of Christ - Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas & the South 

Some thoughts from Frederica Mathewes-Green’s meditation on the Transfiguration given in 2005. The entire article is well worth reading. (Go HERE.)

“On the far side of everything - the Last Supper, the campfire denial, the Resurrection, and the Pentecost outpouring - Peter tries in a letter to make sense of what happened on Mt. Tabor that day. Peter saw God’s glory, and he knows it is for us. He says that God’s divine power calls us ‘to his own glory.’ Through his promises we may ‘become partakers of the divine nature’ (2 Peter 1:3-4).

“’Partakers of the divine nature.’ The life that is in Christ will be in us. We will have a true oneness with Christ and thus we will have a personal transfiguration. We partake of, consume, the light and the life of Christ. We receive, not mere intellectual knowledge of God, but illumination. This participation in ‘the divine nature’ is not a treat squirreled away for the select few, for mystics or hobbyists of ‘spiritual formation,’ but God’s plan for every single human life. ‘The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world’ (John 1:9). Participation in this light is not a lofty or esoteric path, but one of simplicity and childlike humility. It’s not won by sudden, swooping supernatural experiences, but by daily, diligent self-control. Through prayer, fasting, and honouring others above self, we gradually clear away everything in us that will not catch fire.

“We are made to catch fire. We are like lumps of coal, dusty and inert, and possess little to be proud of. But we have one talent: we can burn. You could say that it is our destiny to burn. He made us that way, because he intended for his blazing light to fill us. When this happens, ‘your whole body will be full of light’ (Matthew 6:22).

“Where have we been? We’ve been up Mt. Tabor. ‘And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another’ (2 Corinthians 3:18).”

O God,
who on the mount didst reveal to chosen witnesses
thine only-begotten Son wonderfully transfigured,
in raiment white and glistening;
Mercifully grant that we,
being delivered from the disquietude of this world,
may be permitted to behold the King in his beauty,
who with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost,

liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end. Amen.


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