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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Saturday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading (Jas 3:1-10): Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you realize that we will be judged more strictly, for we all fall short in many respects. If anyone does not fall short in speech, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also. If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we also guide their whole bodies. It is the same with ships: even though they are so large and driven by fierce winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot’s inclination wishes. In the same way the tongue is a small member and yet has great pretensions.

Consider how small a fire can set a huge forest ablaze. The tongue is also a fire. It exists among our members as a world of malice, defiling the whole body and setting the entire course of our lives on fire, itself set on fire by Gehenna. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this need not be so.
Responsorial Psalm: 11
R/. You will protect us, Lord.
Help, o Lord! for no one now is dutiful; faithfulness has vanished from among the children of men. Everyone speaks falsehood to his neighbor; with smooth lips they speak, and double heart.

May the Lord destroy all smooth lips, every boastful tongue, those who say, «We are heroes with our tongues; our lips are our own; who is lord over us?».

The promises of the Lord are sure, like tried silver, freed from dross, sevenfold refined. You, o Lord, will keep us and preserve us always from this generation.
Versicle before the Gospel (Cf. Mk 9,6): Alleluia. The heavens were opened and the voice of the Father thundered: «This is my beloved Son. Listen to him». Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mk 9:2-13): Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; then from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Suddenly, looking around, the disciples no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them.

As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant. Then they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” He told them, “Elijah will indeed come first and restore all things, yet how is it written regarding the Son of Man that he must suffer greatly and be treated with contempt? But I tell you that Elijah has come and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.”

“He charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone”

Fr. Xavier ROMERO i Galdeano (Cervera, Lleida, Spain)

Today, the Transfiguration in Mark's Gospel presents to us an already solved enigma. Saint Mark's evangelic texts are full of messianic secrets, of isolated moments where Jesus forbids telling anyone what He might have done. Today, and right here, we have a “sample”. When Jesus “he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead” (Mk 9:9).

But, what, does this Messianic Secret consist of? The messianic secret consists in lifting the veil a little to slightly reveal what is hidden below; for the whole mystery will only be totally uncovered, in the light of his Paschal Mystery, when Jesus' last days are over. We can see it clearly in this Gospel: Transfiguration is just a moment, a taste of glory, to give the apostles the ability to decipher the meaning of that intimate moment.

Jesus had announced to His disciples the imminent moment of His Passion, but upon seeing them so perturbed because of His tragic end, He explains with words and facts how His last days would be: days of passion and death, but days that will be over with His resurrection. Here is the enigma unraveled. Saint Thomas Aquinas says: “To properly walk one's way it takes one to know first, somehow, the target one is aiming at.”

Our Christian lives have also an aim uncovered by our Lord Jesus Christ: to enjoy God's unfailing love forever and ever. But this target will not be lacking in moments of sacrifice and crucial pains. However, we have to remember the live message of today's Gospel: in this apparent blind alley which, so often, seems to be our life, because of our fidelity to God, and while spending our life immersed and living in the spirit of the Beatitudes, the tragic ending will fade to give way to our enjoying God eternally.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • "Pray diligently to God, so that He might open to you the doors of Light. No one is able to comprehend Truth, unless he is granted understanding from God Himself" (Saint Justin Martyr)

  • "The cross is the exaltation of Jesus and his exaltation takes place only on the cross" (Benedict XVI)

  • The Transfiguration gives us a foretaste of Christ's glorious coming, when he "will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body."( Phil 3:21) But it also recalls that "it is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22) (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 556)