One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

August 06, 2006

For the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ, August 6

Mark 9:2-10

At the very center of what we are witnessing in the Gospel today, Peter tells the Lord, “How good it is for us to be here!”
Would it not be for any of us the privilege of a lifetime to stand before Christ, to see him with our own eyes, his body and his clothes shining like the sun?
The Lord made a promise to be in our midst whenever even just two or three of us should gather in his name.
So the Lord is here now.
As we witness his Gospel today, we have him with us.
We are, then, real witnesses of his Transfiguration.
He himself is here, revealing himself in his own Gospel.
We are real witnesses of his Transfiguration.
How good it is to be here!
What are we to take with us from this celebration, and what testimony are we to give of it?
Just a few days before his Transfiguration, the Lord gave the disciples his first prediction of his suffering, death and resurrection.
They didn’t understand the prediction.
Peter even protested against it, and the Lord answered him with a harsh rebuke.
The Lord then gave them a lesson and a promise.
First, if they were going to be his disciples, they would have to be willing to suffer and die for him.
Then he promised that some of them would live to see him in the glory of his kingdom.
He fulfilled that promise more than once.
We can understand his Transfiguration as his first fulfillment.
Just a week after promising them they would live to see him in the glory of his kingdom, he lets Peter, James and John see his entire appearance change, his body and his clothes shining like the sun.
The Lord also reveals the glory of his kingship on the Cross.
There, even as God and King, he pours out the royal and divine glory of his love to welcome and embrace everything that is human, even abandonment, suffering, poverty and death.
“Jesus of Nazareth, the King....”
The apostles saw the promise of the Lord’s glory fulfilled once more in his Resurrection.
Today in his Gospel we hear the Lord himself link his Transfiguration and his Resurrection by telling Peter, James and John that they are not to speak of what they have seen today until he has risen from the dead.
Each year at Easter we witness and celebrate the Lord’s resurrection.
Each Easter, we, his baptized faithful, renew the vows of Baptism.
We are baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Today in the Transfiguration, we are witnesses of all three of them, Father, Son and Spirit.
First Jesus is here, his body and clothing revealing the light of heaven.
As we stand before him, the embracing cloud of the Spirit adds its own confirmation to the splendor of Jesus.
Now the Father speaks to us of Jesus.
This is my Son—
my beloved Son.
Listen to him!

We have been baptized into the Father, the Son and the Spirit.
In Baptism, God himself in Christ has brought us to the mountaintop of heaven and enveloped us in the light of the Spirit.
In Baptism, God himself in Christ has clothed us with the Spirit of adoption, so that he already counts us as risen out of death into glory as his sons and daughters.
Through Baptism, what we celebrate in the Transfiguration and the Resurrection is no longer just about Christ.
It is about the Father and the Spirit, and it is about our very selves.
That the body of Jesus and even his handmade clothing should shine with heaven’s glory is a sign of the high dignity that God has given to our own bodies, to human life and culture.
This is my beloved Son.

In Christ God has passed judgment on our world, and his is a judgment of fatherhood and love.
It is with great confidence, then, that we should face our lives in the world.
Our real world does require us to walk behind the Lord on the way to a share in his cross.
Yet, even as the Lord led his three apostles downhill today— downhill away from the glory of the mountaintop— the apostles continued to discuss what “to rise from the dead” meant.
Even when things may be going downhill for us, we must allow our faith in Christ to transfigure our hearts and minds through a discussion of what “to rise from the dead” means.
At this very moment we are approaching the Eucharist.
In this Blessed Sacrament, the same body and blood that shone in the Transfiguration are really present.
In this sacrament Jesus crucified bodily and bloodily, Jesus dead and risen in body and blood is really present.
In this sacrament he really and truly breathes out the Spirit of the Father upon us, within us, in body, in spirit and in truth.
In this sacrament he gives us a share in his bodily resurrection and its meaning: that the very life and glory of God himself dwells in and finally transfigures the flesh and blood of his sons and daughters.
How good it is to be here!

That God Be Glorified in All


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