Sunday Gospel and Homily Notes by Archbishop Joe Harris C.S.Sp.
Gospel Mk 9:2-10
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; 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.
All of us have had moments of intimacy in life so intense when possibilities have been revealed us that we have wished that those moments could continue forever. Spouses experience it, very good friends experience it, political groupings experience it, and people experience it in moments of deep religious experience. These moments often fill us with fear because they show us where we can reach
but they also show us the path that we need to follow to make those moments a definitive reality. The truth is that this path is always hard and arduous and can be extremely painful.
The gospel reading for this weekend shows us a similar moment in the life of the apostles. They have experienced a moment of deep intimacy with Jesus. They saw him in his glory and want to remain with him, but according to the Gospel they are also filled with fear. Was it fear of losing the moment? Was it fear of what awaited them if they were to achieve that moment forever? Whatever it was that caused them to be terrified, there solution was “Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” They wanted to remain in the glory without passing through the pain that attaining glory entails. We know that after this
experience Jesus began to teach publicly that he was about to suffer and die and this teaching would reinforce in the minds of the disciples the lesson which they had learnt on the mountain. True glory is only attained through pain.
The story however continues, the disciples hear a voice from heaven, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” It is the Father saying to them in your fear listen to my Son who speaks my word of my promise, of my comfort, of encouragement. Listen to my words of truth, my words which give strength. It is as if the Father tells the disciples, “if you want to live in this glory forever, let the words of my son guide you.”
us live moments when future possibilities are revealed to us but these possibilities often are not converted into reality because we don’t have confidence in ourselves, or we are afraid of the arduous journey that making these possibilities reality will entail. We would love the possibilities to become reality instantly. The gospel message reminds us that we do not live in an instant world. The joy of instant success or instant glory is never profound. The joy of the transfiguration was not and could never be as profound as the joy of the Resurrection.
All the heroes of our faith, the saints knew this and so they took the long hard painful road of rejection, misunderstanding, lack of stamina among collaborators and tiredness, which was needed to change the possibilities which they experienced into reality. That is how religious orders and
congregations were built. That is how political groupings capable of changing society for the better are built, that is how teams capable of bringing long lasting joy to their fans are built. They knew that true glory is only attained through pain. We know also that those who were truly successful were successful because they listened to the word of your son and followed his inspirations.
As we reflect on this lesson, we thank God for the people, parents, teachers, and friends, who have taught us this lesson by their example. Today is a good day to celebrate them. We also look at our own lives however and ask for the grace to live this lesson in our own lives, so that the dreams and possibilities which have been revealed to us may become reality sooner or later in our lives.
style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: black"> Prayer
All powerful and ever-loving God, we thank you for the dreams and possibilities that you reveal to us in the transfiguration moments of our life. We are often afraid however, afraid that we are not good enough, afraid of the effort which attaining these possibilities will entail, afraid of the lack of belief in others who laugh at us and ridicule us.
WE know however that you will never reveal possibilities to us if we were not capable span> and so we pray for your strength and for the grace to listen to your son so that under his guidance we may attain the reality of what was only glimpsed in possibilities. We ask this in the name of Mary our Mother and Jesus your son. Amen