Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A reflection on the Transfiguration of Our Lord

(Part of my homily from last Sunday).

We need to appreciate just how wonderful the Transfiguration is. Our Lord takes Ss. Peter, James, and John to the top of Mt. Tabor. There the veil which concealed His true nature is removed. He is shown to be True God as well as True Man. Not only is His glory revealed, but He is seen in the company of the Prophet Moses, giver of the Law and instrument of the liberation of the people of Israel, and the Prophet Elijah, greatest of the prophets and so holy that he was taken up body and soul into heaven. What we find on Mt. Tabor is heaven on Earth. For what is heaven but the presence of God face to face and fellowship with God's holy ones.

St. Peter says Lord it is good to be here: let's just say. If we are honest with ourselves, we would say the same thing. (St. Peter usual says what we would say ourselves.) Who of us, if we were taken up into heaven would willingly want to return to Earth. I know I wouldn't. But what would have happened if they had stayed? None of us would be saved, not Peter, James, nor John. Christ could at anytime have revealed His glory and ascended to His throne as King of Heaven and Earth, but we would not have been saved. As He discussed with Moses and Elijah and as He taught His disciples, for the world, the flesh, and the Devil to be defeated, Our Lord had to go to Jerusalem, be handed over to evil men, be crucified, and rise from the dead. It was in this way that our salvation was won.

I would hazard to say that we are all tempted to be like St. Peter at times. We want our salvation NOW. And who wouldn't. No struggle, no pain, just salvation here and now. But it doesn't work that way. We are not saved. We are being saved. We work out our salvation with fear and trembling. We are not saved until we are found worthy at the Judgment and admitted into the Father's Kingdom.

Maybe you have heard it said that we are an 'Easter People' or a 'Resurrection People', that we have been saved, that we are on our way to Heaven. And that because of this, we don't need 'that penance stuff.' And it is true, up to a point. Christ is victorious. Christ had conquered the world, the flesh, and the Devil. Christ does reign. But this victory is not finished in our lives. This is why the Crucifixion still needs to be made present in our lives through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We need to deny ourselves, take up our Crosses, and follow the Lord Jesus. We especially need to remember that our salvation is not a done deal. It can be lost if we turn from Christ and His Cross.

Therefore, let us renew our commitment to Christ and His Cross. Let us pick up our crosses and carry them with the Lord to Jerusalem.
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