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  • Father David M. Knight

Father David's Reflection for Tuesday of Week Eighteen (Ordinary Time)

The Transfiguration of the Lord

The Responsorial (Psalm 97) proclaims: “The Lord is king, the most high over all the earth.

In the Anamnesis or “remembering” after the Institution Narrative (“Consecration”) we remember the three key events of redemption: the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, with the ascension’s implicit promise that Jesus will “come again.”

2Peter 1:16-19 (alternative first reading) tells us that Jesus’ “transfiguration” (transformation of appearance) was a preview of the “honor and glory” into which Jesus entered by these three events and a promise of his “coming”:

When we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the Sublime Glory itself spoke to him and said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.

Peter tells us this so we will know that his divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.[1]

In other words, for encouragement:

You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

In Eucharist we “remember and make present” both the past and the future. We are present to the “end time” prophesied in Daniel 7:9-14: “I saw, coming on the clouds of heaven, one like a son of man..,, On him was conferred sovereignty, glory and kingship… which shall never pass away.” Jesus quoted these words when the high priest said to him, “I put you under oath before the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” For Jesus to make this claim when it was obvious God had abandoned him to the power of his enemies amounted to saying he needed no divine affirmation of his messiahship; that he could not not be the Messiah; that he was God. The high priest saw it immediately:

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?” They answered, “He deserves death.”[2]

It is significant that in Luke 9:28-36 (as in Matthew 17:1-9 and Mark 9:2-10 for Years A and B), the three Transfiguration witnesses, “Peter, John and James” were the same who would see Jesus weak and crushed in his agony in the garden. When our faith is tried by Jesus’ apparent powerlessness against the forces of evil, we need to remember the preview and promise of his glory.[3]

To those with faith, every Eucharist is a Transfiguration experience. We see the presence of Christ shining through the appearances of bread and wine. We see him in the host crucified, risen and returning. We see divine life shining through the human appearance of all who receive Communion. We are already present at the “wedding banquet of the Lamb.” “Through him, with him, in him… all glory and honor…forever!.

Initiative: See the divine in the human, wherever it is.

[1] Verse 3 above.

[2] See Matthew 24:30, 26:64-66. Cf. Revelation 5:12, 7:12.

[3] Mark 14:33. And see 5:37.

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