Transfiguration of the Lord, Feast (06 Aug 2009)
Dn 7. 9-10, 13-4; Ps 97; 2Pt 1. 16-19; Lk. 9. 28b-36
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
For the Present
Remembering the Transfiguration of the Lord as an annual feast has been celebrated for centuries. In our time the gospels of the Transfiguration again shape church worship each Second Sunday of Lent. As the preface for today recalls, Jesus was transfigured in the presence of some of his apostles to strengthen them for the scandal of the cross. The purpose was for them in their present time in which Jesus, God’s son, born of Mary, intersected with them.
The first reading today from the Book of Daniel points to an emerging, ongoing reality: the revelation of God and the vision of God in which believers of every time share—the past and future as well as our present.
The verses from Second Peter offer us two helps. First, they assert from the early scriptural tradition of the church, a tradition inspired by Jesus’ Holy Spirit, a memory of a revelation of God in Jesus. The experience of the apostles was real yet not routine. The divine voice echoed the confirmation it sounded at Jesus’ baptism, “This is my beloved son,” [as] the holy Spirit descended on Jesus in bodily form like a dove.1
Second, the writer, like the entire New Testament witness, recalled God’s revelation in Jesus for all Christians who hear the prophetic message. More than preserving the facts about Jesus and the truth of faith, the prophetic message invites us to grow more aware of what God is doing in our risen Lord within us.
“Us” is at once “each of us” as well as our families and our parish community. What we choose to do or not do is not always a matter of right or wrong. More often we choose among goods, electing one and forgoing others for the sake of the greater good. Christian action is preceded by contemplative attitude, recalling Jesus reveals personally himself to us. It is our contemplative attitude—prayer and meditative reading of both events and the signals they offer as well as scripture and other printed pages—which allows us to recognize Jesus accompanying us in our lives.
Second Peter reminds us that we are more than hearers of the prophetic message of God’s self-revelation. More than its keepers we are its bearers because Jesus chooses us to bear the prophetic message to one another and to our world.
1. Luke 3.22.
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