The first reading from the Book of Daniel gives us a vision of the Son of Man being presented to the 'one of great age'. Note that this is not a picture of the Son of Man descending to earth but of him being presented to God. We know that from the ecstatic experience of the transfiguration, the disciples will see their agonized Lord suffering on the hillside of Calvary. However, today the accent is not so much on Jesus' passion as on providing us with a clue to his identity. This divine revelation –related to the gospel reading in which Jesus' face shines like the sun and is clothed in dazzling white – shows that it is He who is to be glorified like the Son of man.Another perspective of life
Life is full of ups and downs. One moment we gaze at God's glory, next we see him crucified. How often do we crave for visions and voices, but all we receive is shadows and silence. A transplant changes things all too drastically; a transplant is what truth is all about. In his transfiguration we get a glimpse of what life is, at times, and what it shall be. -A blind man was happily married to a very ugly girl who was a wonderful person. All went well until he received his eyesight due to a transplant. This transplant changed his opinion of his wife. He divorced her as her external appearance hid her inner beauty. Like the blind man, the disciples want to bask in the beauty of the glorious Christ dismissive of his Calvary ugliness to follow. But Jesus frustrates all their tent-building intentions and wants them to understand Him. Have we understood?
Francis Gonsalves in 'Sunday Seeds for Daily Deeds'
The Sunday Gospel presents us with an impressive image of the glorified Christ. The story of the Transfiguration is concerned with the identity of Jesus. The few details that are given are highly significant. We are told that it happened on a mountain- in the bible the mountain is a place of divine manifestation. On the mountain Jesus is flanked by two of the most important figures of the Old Testament–Moses and Elijah, representing the law and the prophets. Thus Jesus is seen as bringing the law and the prophets to fulfillment. In other words he is the Messiah. The cloud overshadowing them signifies the presence of God, who cannot be seen by human eyes. From the cloud comes the voice that declares something greater still about Jesus, namely that He is God's beloved Son. As for the event itself, its first and chief significance was for Jesus himself. It was meant to confirm him and his mission. But it also benefitted the apostles. In the transfigured Jesus they got a glimpse of the glory that was his as the Son of God. Together with their later experience of his resurrection, it confirmed them in the belief that Jesus was the Messiah, and the Son of God. What significance has the story for us? We too are journeying towards Jerusalem –the heavenly Jerusalem. And we too can have moments of transfiguration. In his love for us, God allows us to taste on earth the joys of the world to come. We too can hear the voice from heaven assuring us: "You are my beloved Son" or "You are my beloved Daughter!" So we are able to face the future with confidence.
Holding on to The Transfiguration experience
A poor man living in a Dublin hostel was walking along a street in Dublin. At a certain point he found himself outside a Church. Before he realized it he was inside. He could not recollect whether or not he had said any prayers, but his soul was flooded with light. His depression lifted and a great peace descended on him. He felt that he belonged to this earth after all. He felt close to God and loved by God. The experience seemed to last for a long time, yet he had a feeling it lasted only a few minutes. But he said he'd gladly give the whole of his life for those few moments. What made the experience so wonderful was the realization that he had done nothing to deserve it. It was a pure gift from God to him. For one short moment he tasted glory. However, when it was over he found himself out in the streets once more, going along aimlessly as before. The effects of that experience faded. Though he went many times afterwards to the church, he never was able to recapture that moment. That homeless man wanted to hold on to that experience. He wanted to go backwards instead of forwards. He might have used the experience to illuminate the darkness of his life, and to go forward more hopefully and courageously. Peter made the same mistake. He wanted to stay on the mountaintop. He did not want to go back to everyday life. But Jesus summoned him to go back down the mountain and face the future. We too are called to go down the mountain and face daily life.
Flor McCarthy in 'New Sunday and Holy Day Liturgies'
God's gift to his apostles and us –The Transfiguration
William Bennett in his 'Book of Virtues' repeats an old Jewish folk tale about two naïve city boys who had never seen a farm. One day they decided to wander into the country. There they saw a farmer plowing. They said to each other this man must be insane to be tearing up a beautiful green field. Then they saw him sowing seed, an act which also mystified them especially when the farmer next covered over the seed as if burying it. Laughing at the farmer’s foolish actions, they returned to the city. Later they went once again to the country. Now they admired the standing crop of wheat in the farmer's field, but to their amazement they saw him cutting down the stalks. This was too much for them. They went home where they opened a loaf of bread to make sandwiches, with no understanding of how the bread came to be. These boys were amazingly simplistic, but with all our technical knowledge today, we understand very little of the workings of God's world. There are great mysteries in the universe. Today we celebrate one of God's great mysteries, which we call the Paschal mystery, the mystery of Christ's death and resurrection. The Transfiguration of Jesus was a gift to the apostles to prepare them for the ordeal of Jesus' death. It was meant to strengthen their faith on that day of trial, so that remembering Jesus' glory on the mountain they could endure his death with the hope of his resurrection.
Charles Miller in 'Sunday Preaching'
Transfiguration or Transformation?
With the monsoons irrigating India, it is lovely to see large tracts of land bedecked with the lush green of paddy fields. Paddy shoots are transplanted to ensure a bountiful harvest. But transplantation is not limited to nature only; human beings too undergo transplants. Early in 2006, French woman Isabelle Dinoire became the first woman to undergo a face transplant. Being badly mauled by a dog, she received a new nose, lips and chin from a brain-dead donor. Commenting on the accident and the transplant, Isabelle told pressmen. "My life has changed completely!"
Francis Gonsalves in 'Sunday Seeds for Daily Deeds'
Transformed by love
In the year 1464 a sculptor named Agostino di Duccio began working on a huge piece of flawed marble. Intending to produce a magnificent sculpture of an Old Testament prophet for a Cathedral in Florence, Italy, he labored for two years and then stopped. In 1476 Antonio Rosselino started to work on the same piece of marble and in time he abandoned it also. In 1501 a 26-year-old sculptor named Michelangelo was offered a considerable sum of money to produce something worthwhile from that enormous block of marble called 'the giant.' As he began his work he saw a major flaw near the bottom that had stymied other sculptors, including, it is said, Leonardo da Vinci. He decided to turn that part of the stone into a broken tree stump that would support the right leg. The rest he worked on for four years until he had produced the incomparable 'David'. Today the seventeen-foot-tall statue stands on display at the Academia Gallery in Florence where people come from around the world to view it. More than a masterpiece, it is one of the greatest works of art ever produced. How did he do it? Here is the answer in his own words: "In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to other eyes as mine see it." Said in more colloquial terms, "I cut away everything that didn't look like David."
Johnson V. in 'Liturgy and Life'
A brilliant magician was performing on an ocean liner. But every time he did a trick, the Captain's parrot would yell, "It's a trick. He's a phony. That's not magic." Then one evening during a storm, the ship sank while the magician was performing. The parrot and the magician ended up in the same lifeboat. For several days they just glared at each other, neither saying a word to the other. Finally the parrot said, "OK, I give up. What did you do with the ship?"
The parrot couldn't explain that last trick! It was too much to comprehend, even for a smart parrot. Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters-one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." Scholars over the years have tried to explain what in the world Peter meant by this suggestion. But, I think trying to find meaning to these words is pointless. It's simply the way Matthew explains: Peter was frightened and he just said the first thing that came to into his head. He simply could not comprehend what was happening.
In life, moments occur that are incomprehensible. The birth of one's own child is one of those moments. The loss of a loved one is one of those moments. September 11 was one of those moments. There are mountaintop and valley moments throughout life. We are never ready for them. They arrive unannounced changing us in irreversible ways. But there is one thing they all have in common. They demand that we be silent and listen. These moments have something to say to us, to teach us.
But too often our response is like that of Peter, babbling absurdities because we cannot understand the significant, the meaningful moment...
___________________________When parents are trying to teach their very young children basic social skills one of the first big lessons is "Use your words." Instead of grabbing, hitting, screaming, or crying, we teach our children to communicate their needs and desires through the use of words. Instead of snatching a toy away from another child we teach our kids to say "May I please play with that for a while?" Instead of screaming and throwing a tantrum, we teach our children to say, "I'm really mad," or "He was mean to me," or "She hit me!"
The power of our voices, the power of words, is the first power we want our children to tap into. Verbal communication is uniquely human and is a uniquely empowering gift.
Despite all the image-based advances in technology, "The Voice" is still the driving force in electronic developments. Voice power is still the ultimate power. Every new, successful emerging technology - for the past seventy-five years -- knows that voice power means market power.
Remember RCA? RCA famously advertised its first record player, the "Victrola," by showing the family dog with its head cocked in curiosity as it listened to a record player. The advertising tag line was, "His Master's Voice."
The "next best thing" in the past few years has almost always been a voice-based development. We now all routinely talk to our cars...
**************Nowadays the cost of a dinner and a movie keeps going up, and a vacation can be especially expensive, but if I really want to go somewhere I just take the change out of my pocket and lay it on the desk. It's like a time machine. Each coin has a year stamped on it, and just thinking about the year helps me travel back in my memory.
1979 is the year my first son was born and the year I started in ministry. 1981 and 1983 are the years my daughter and second son were born. 1988 is the last time the Dodgers won the pennant. 1990 was when I moved to Indiana from Los Angeles. 1994 and 2004 were the years I turned forty and fifty. 2002 was when I moved to Pennsylvania. And it's getting harder to find, but any coin with 1954 is my birth year.
I enjoy laying out the change in my pocket and just glancing at the dates. It's nice to carry these little reminders of important events, good and bad. But they're just one kind of reminder. We carry all sorts of reminders around. One of the most obvious is our date book, which we use to remind us of important events that are not in the past but in the future. We especially need a reminder for Ash Wednesday. It comes in the middle of nowhere. It's not like Christmas or Independence Day that fall on the same dates every year. Ash Wednesday is all over the map, from early February to sometime in March. What usually happens is that we notice someone with a smudge on their forehead and suddenly realize: was that today? Really, it's not very convenient. The least Ash Wednesday could do is fall on a Sunday.
It is an interruption. And it's an unwelcome reminder of an unpleasant fact. Dust we are and to dust we shall return. The grass withers and the flower fades....
IT WAS THERE ALL ALONG
I remember a time when I had misplaced my good pen and I was looking for it everywhere. I looked in drawers. I looked under things, behind things and in things. I looked on the floor, but it was nowhere. And then I found it. I was holding it in my mouth the whole time.
That is the way that life often is. We miss things that have been there the whole time. It is like when I was in college and my wife was on campus the whole year, but I never really saw her. Then one day, I SAW her. She had been there the whole time, but one day I actually saw her in my world. And she has been in my world ever since.
That is the story of the Transfiguration. Jesus showed his disciples a part of the world that had been there all along, but it had not really been a part of their world. They were bewildered, astonished and trembling with fear when they saw and understood that heaven was already here in their world and that Jesus was the King of heaven.
*************Fr. Tony Kadavil’s Collection:
1: “Lord, give me the grace for transformation.”
The word transfiguration means a change in form or appearance. Biologists call it metamorphosis (derived from the Greek word metamorphoomai used in Matthew’s Gospel), to describe the change that occurs when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. As children we might have curiously watched the process of the caterpillar turning into a chrysalis and then bursting into a beautiful Monarch butterfly. Fr. Anthony De Mello tells the story of such a metamorphosis in the prayer life of an old man. “I was a revolutionary when I was young and all my prayer to God was: ‘Lord, give me the grace to change the world.’ As I approached middle age and realized that half of my life was gone without changing a single soul, I changed my prayer to: ‘Lord, give me the grace to change all those who come in contact with me; just my family and friends and I shall be satisfied.’ Now that I am old and my days are numbered, I have begun to see how foolish I have been. My one prayer now is: ’Lord, give me the grace to change myself.’ If I had prayed for this right from the start, I should not have wasted my life.”
2: Missing the point:
Once upon a time, a man took his new hunting dog on a trial hunt. After a while, he managed to shoot a duck and it fell into the lake. The dog walked on the water, picked up the duck and brought it to his master. The man was stunned. He didn’t know what to think. He shot another duck and again it fell into the lake and, again, the dog walked on the water and brought it back to him. What a fantastic dog – he can walk on water and get nothing but his paws wet. The next day he asked his neighbor to go hunting with him so that he could show off his hunting dog, but he didn’t tell his neighbor anything about the dog’s ability to walk on water. As on the previous day, he shot a duck and it fell into the lake. The dog walked on the water and got it. His neighbor didn’t say a word. Several more ducks were shot that day and each time the dog walked over the water to retrieve them and each time the neighbor said nothing and neither did the owner of the dog. Finally, unable to contain himself any longer, the owner asked his neighbor, "Have you noticed anything strange, anything different about my dog?" "Yes," replied the neighbor, " come to think of it, I do. Your dog doesn’t know how to swim." The neighbor missed the point completely. He couldn’t see the wonder of a dog that could walk on water; he could only see that the dog didn’t do what other hunting dogs do to retrieve ducks – that is to swim. The disciple, Peter, was good at missing the point at the theophany of transfiguration as it is clear from his declaration: “ I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
3: “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.”
There is a mysterious story in 2 Kings that can help us understand what is happening in the transfiguration. Israel is at war with Aram, and Elisha the man of God is using his prophetic powers to reveal the strategic plans of the Aramean army to the Israelites. At first the King of Aram thinks that one of his officers is playing the spy, but when he learns the truth he dispatches troops to go and capture Elisha who is residing in Dothan. The Aramean troops move in under cover of darkness and surround the city. In the morning Elisha’s servant is the first to discover that they are surrounded and fears for his master’s safety. He runs to Elisha and says, “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” The prophet answers “Don't be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” But who would believe that when the surrounding mountainside is covered with advancing enemy troops? So Elisha prays, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the Lord opens the servant's eyes, and he looks and sees the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha (2 Kings 6:8-23). This vision was all that Elisha’s disciple needed to reassure him. At the end of the story, not only was the prophet of God safe but the invading army was totally humiliated. (Fr. Munacci)