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August 6, 2017, the Transfiguration of the Lord

Daniel Sees the Kingdom

First Reading Commentary: Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14

Daniel’s prophecy about the coming of Christ is actually a prophecy about Revelations as it was revealed to Daniel in a dream.  Daniel’s dream is about the final conflict between God and the beast and is strikingly similar to John’s vision in the book of Revelations.

Daniel tells us that he saw thrones set up. In Revelations, we know that in addition to God’s throne, there are twenty-four other thrones for the elders. Revelations 4:2-4 These twenty-four thrones represent the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve Apostles.

Daniel saw the Ancient One take his throne. His clothing was snow bright and his hair was white as wool. The Ancient One is the Father but this is also one of the ways that John sees the Son of Man in Revelations 1:13-14. The throne was of flames of fire and a surging stream of fire flowed out from where He sat. In this case, the fire is the spirit of God. Daniel saw thousands upon thousands ministering to Him and myriads upon myriads attending to Him. John saw the Son of Man on His throne being tended to by His servants. Revelations 22:3

Then court was convened which means that the final judgment had begun. The books that were opened refer to the scrolls that only the Son of Man could open in Revelations 5:1-14.

Daniel saw the Son of Man come on the clouds of heaven and when he approached the Ancient One, he was given dominion, glory and kingship over all peoples, nations and languages. His dominion is everlasting and his kingship shall not be destroyed. John also saw this as the seventh trumpet was sounded in Revelations 11:15.

Daniel saw the same thing that John saw. Daniel saw the final victory over the beast. He also saw the end of the age as we know it and the beginning of eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven. What Daniel saw and what Revelations is all about is the final exodus from this world into the next and this is what Jesus was discussing with Moses and Elijah at His Transfiguration.


Second Reading Commentary: 2 Peter 1:16-19

One of the most powerful testimonies acceptable in court is that of an eyewitness—someone who was there and saw and/or heard what happened. Such testimony cannot be struck down unless the witness can be proven to be non-credible.

In his second letter, Peter testifies to being an eyewitness to the Transfiguration of the Lord. In effect, Peter testifies that the Scriptures written about the Transfiguration are true because he was there and saw the event. According to the Gospels which would later be written about the Transfiguration, Peter even had a part in it.

To not believe what Peter says is to not believe that he is a credible witness and worse yet, it is to not believe the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. I’m not going deeper into that issue. Instead, let’s consider what Peter said.

First, Peter testified that the Lord’s Transfiguration was not a cleverly devised myth. He said, “…we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty” making reference to the fact that John and James were with him to witness the event. Peter was saying that the Transfiguration was not a made-up story of fantasy but a real event and he and others were there to see it.

Peter added that God the Father gave His Son honor and majestic glory saying, “This is my Son…with whom I am well pleased.” There are two things to consider here. 1-God does not owe honor to anyone other than Himself. 2-With the words “majestic glory,” Peter was testifying that he was witness to seeing Jesus in His divine state.

This means that Jesus Christ is both God and man and that there is more than one person to the One God. This is a mystery beyond our human understanding but Peter was testifying to its truth.

We can, in faith, accept Peter’s testimony or we can reject it in disbelieve. Either way, Peter made it known that it was his mission and the mission of those who were with him to share the Good News. In other words, they were answering the call to evangelize. This is what Peter meant when he said, “Moreover, we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable.” Reliable, not simply because of his faith, but because he was given tangible proof by being a witness to seeing Jesus in His divine state while the Father spoke from heaven.

What would you do if someone came to you and claimed to see God and hear Him speak? Most of us would be convinced that the person was out of their mind. Without having hard evidence, we would not believe a word they say.

Over the millennia, there have been countless miracles performed and there have been those who were witness to an apparition of Mary, the Blessed Mother. These things are never accepted in faith by anyone other than those who are witness to it before they can be proven. Such is our human nature.

But Peter said, “You will do well to be attentive to it, as a lamp shining in a dark place.”  Simply put, Peter was telling us to have faith and use our faith. To do that, we have to look beyond our humanity, let go of our human nature and simply accept that which is divine without question.

The Transfiguration of the Lord

The Fourth Luminous Mystery of the Rosary

Gospel Commentary: Matthew 17:1-9

The Transfiguration of the Lord is accounted for in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. Today, we hear the Gospel of Matthew.

Jesus took Peter, John and James up to the mountain to pray. The face of Jesus changed appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glory with Him and they spoke about the exodus that Jesus was going to make out of Jerusalem.

This event of Jesus going up the mountain relives Moses going up Mount Sinai. The face of Moses became so radiant that the Israelites could not look at him so he covered his face with a veil. The way that Jesus appears at the Transfiguration is also consistent with Daniel’s dream and with John’s vision in Revelations.

It was the inner circle of Jesus’ disciples who went up the mountain with Him. Jesus appeared in His divine state as God the Son although the disciples did not understand what was happening when they first saw Him. Peter, who did not know what to say and had a way of speaking without thinking first, said, “Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

Peter made the mistake of thinking in human terms and of this world. If Peter knew that it was Moses and Elijah, he should have stopped to think that what was going on was not of this world. We usually try to think of God in a human way. That is not to say that we think of God as being human, although Christ did come to earth as a man, but because our minds cannot conceive God as He really is, we try to make a comparison with something that we can understand.

Before Peter could finish speaking, a bright cloud came and cast a shadow over the disciples and they became frightened. Remember that when God appeared to Moses at the Dwelling in the desert, He came in the form of a cloud which filled the Dwelling and God spoke to Him. Exodus 40:34 God, the Father, spoke here as well and said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

After God spoke, Matthew tells us that Jesus touched them saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” When the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus. On the way down from the mountain, according to Mark, Jesus told the disciples not to tell anyone about what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

This is the second time that the Father spoke from heaven about Jesus. The first time was when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and the Father said, “This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17 But this time, the Father said, “Listen to him.” This was a commandment from the Father to the disciples and to all of us and it is very direct—Listen to Jesus. This is why anyone who declares themselves a Christian should follow everything that Jesus said and everything that Jesus did without exception.

The Transfiguration of Jesus points to the Resurrection and to all three persons of the Trinity who were present. It was the Father’s voice and the Holy Spirit appeared as the bright cloud. Jesus appeared in the glory of the Risen Christ. The Transfiguration also points to the Passion. One reason why is because the climb up the mountain is compared to the climb up to Calvary.

It was important for Peter, John and James to see Jesus in His divine state because this was a confirmation of Jesus being the Messiah. Being able to see Jesus as God, would later give them the understanding that Jesus’ Passion was voluntary and that by way of the cross, Jesus made His exodus from this life to His glory in heaven paving the way for our exodus from this life to our glory in heaven. The Transfiguration would also give them the strength that they needed to complete their mission as Apostles after Jesus was gone.

How can we be strengthened and gain understanding by meditating on the Transfiguration? We were not there to see it but Peter, John and James were. Our human desire for tangible evidence has to come from them. Through their presence, we are all given tangible proof that Jesus is God the Son. By their witness to His Passion and Resurrection, we are all given even more proof.

They were enlightened with the understanding that Jesus went to the cross to prepare the way for all of us. Peter, John and James shared this with the other Apostles and together, they all shared it with us in Acts of the Apostles and in their letters. In today’s second reading, Peter testifies to his witness of the Transfiguration.

          From the experiences which the Apostles had with Christ and their sharing of those experiences with us, we must acquire strength and understanding through our faith in God. Strength and understanding are both gifts of the Holy Spirit. All we have to do is ask and we will receive them.

Reading 1          Daniel 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          Psalm 97:1-2, 5-6, 9

R. (1a and 9a) 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.
R. The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth.

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.
R. The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth.

Because you, O LORD, are the Most High over all the earth, exalted far above all gods.
The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth.

Reading 2          2 Peter 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.

Gospel          Mark 9:2-10

Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother 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; from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”
Suddenly, looking around, they 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.

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The Descent of the Holy Spirit
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Paragraph 767 "When the work which the Father gave the Son to do on earth was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that he might continually sanctify the Church."174 Then "the Church was openly displayed to the crowds and the spread of the Gospel among the nations, through preaching, was begun."175 As the "convocation" of all men for salvation, the Church in her very nature is missionary, sent by Christ to all the nations to make disciples of them.176

The Holy Spirit came to Mary and the Apostles as tongues of fire.

Saint of the Day

Transfiguration of the Lord
Quote: “At his Transfiguration Christ showed his disciples the splendor of his beauty, to which he will shape and color those who are his: ‘He will reform our lowness configured to the body of his glory’” (Philippians 3:21) (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae).

In his dream, Daniel saw God on a throne of fire.

About listening to what the Son says as the Father commanded, Peter said, "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."

Alleluia Mark 17:5c

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Jesus appeared in His divine state as the Holy Spirit appeared in a cloud and the Father spoke from heaven saying, "This is my beloved Son, listen to Him."

Do not be afraid of God. Do not be afraid to believe in God. Have faith in God!

Saints of the Week

Saint Cajetan

Saint Dominic
( 8/8/11708/6/1221)
Patron Saint of:
Astronomers & Dominican Republic

Saint Teresa Benedicta
of the Cross: Edith Stein

(10/12/1891 – 8/9/1942)
Patron Saint of: Europe

Saint Lawrence
(c. 225 – 8/10/258)
Patron Saint of:
Cooks & Poor

Saint Clare of Assis
(7/16/1194 – 8/11/1253)
Patron Saint of:
Eye disorders & Television

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal
(1/28/1572 – 12/13/1641)

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