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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

August 6th: Transfiguration of Our Lord (A)

1st Reading (Dan 7,9-10.13-14): As I watched: Thrones were set up and the Ancient One took his throne. His clothing was bright as snow, and the hair on his head as white as wool; his throne was flames of fire, with wheels of burning fire. A surging stream of fire flowed out from where he sat; thousands upon thousands were ministering to him, and myriads upon myriads attended him. The court was convened and the books were opened. As the visions during the night continued, I saw: One like a Son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven; when he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him, the one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship; all peoples, nations, and languages serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.
Responsorial Psalm: 96
R/. The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth.
The Lord is king; let the earth rejoice; let the many islands be glad. Clouds and darkness are round about him, justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne.

The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim his justice, and all peoples see his glory.

Because you, o Lord, are the Most High over all the earth, exalted far above all gods.
2nd Reading (2Pt 1,16-19): Beloved: We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that unique declaration came to him from the majestic glory, «This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased». We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain. Moreover, we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
Versicle before the Gospel (Mt 17,5): Alleluia. This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 17,1-9): Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain where they were alone. Jesus' appearance was changed before them: his face shone like the sun and his clothes became bright as light. Just then Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Jesus. Peter spoke and said to Jesus, «Master, it is good that we are here. If you so wish, I will make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah».

Peter was still speaking when a bright cloud covered them in its shadow, and a voice from the cloud said, «This is my Son, the Beloved, my Chosen One. Listen to him». On hearing the voice, the disciples fell to the ground, full of fear. But Jesus came, touched them and said, «Stand up, do not be afraid». When they raised their eyes, they no longer saw anyone except Jesus. And as they came down the mountain, Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone what they had just seen, until the Son of Man be raised from the dead.

«This is my Son, my Chosen one»

+ Fr. Joan SERRA i Fontanet (Barcelona, Spain)

Today, the Gospel speaks of the Transfiguration of our Lord on Mount Tabor. Jesus, after Peter's confession, started to say that it was necessary for the Son of man to be condemned to death and that He would rise on the third day. This passage of the Transfiguration of Jesus has to be placed within this context. Athanasius the Sinaite writes that «He, who had donned our miserable goatskin tunics, is today dressed with a divine dress and a dazzling light wraps him up as a robe». The message that Jesus Transfigured brings to us is the Father's words: «This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him» (Mk 9:7). To listen means to abide by his will, to contemplate his person, to imitate him, to put into practice his advice, to take up our own cross and follow him.

To avoid any misunderstandings or equivocals, «He ordered them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man be risen from the dead» (Mk 9:9). The three apostles are looking at Jesus Transfigured, signal of his divinity, but the Saviour does not want them to spread the news until after his resurrection, when it will be possible to understand the scope of this episode. Christ speaks to us through the Gospel and when we pray; we can then repeat Peter's words: «Master, it is good that we are here» (Mk 9:5), particularly, after the Holy Communion.

Today's mass preface summarizes in a very nice way the Transfiguration of our Lord. It says: «Because the Lord, Christ, having announced his death to his disciples, reveals his glory, at the sacred mountain and, having the Law and the prophets as witnesses, He makes them understand his Passion is necessary to reach the glory of the resurrection». A lesson we Christians should never forget.

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