Our readings today give us an amazing and almost fantastic picture of Christ and His Father. In our first reading from Daniel, we see Daniel’s vision of God the Father on His throne, with Christ coming on a cloud. Daniel is seeing with the eyes of faith. He is not actually in heaven seeing God, but the Holy Spirit of God has given him this vision to share with us
Our Gospel reading from Matthew shows us Peter, James and John on top of Mount Tabor speaking with Jesus about their journey to Jerusalem when Christ suddenly shines like the sun and is then joined by Moses, the great Lawgiver and Elijah, the prophet. The disciples overheard the converstion about Christ’s upcoming passion and death. Peter is so overcome that he wants to stay there on the top of Mount Tabor. When they hear the voice of God the Father, the disciples fall down in fear. Looking up, they see only Jesus as He was before the transfiguration. This was NOT a VISION. They actually saw this with their own eyes. I suppose that this would have had a deep, long-lasting effect on their faith lives. Yet, when Christ’s arrest, passion and crucifixion came, all of the Apostles fled, except John who witnessed the Crucifixion along with Mary and some of the women who had accompanied them.
The Apostles went into hiding even after Easter, until they had received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost Then they become bold and fearless. They preached the message that Jesus had given them. They travelled through many parts of the world, sharing the Good News of Christ: the Love and mercy of God, and the invitation to enter the Kingdom of God. All of them suffered martyrdom for their faith, except John, who survived his torture and was exiled to the island of Patmos for the remainder of his life.
Now, let me ask you: if you were able to witness this great event of the Transfiguration, would your life be changed? Would you do or say things differently?
Every weekend we come to Mass. We hear the scriptures tell us of the stories of our ancestors and of the life of Christ. We are instructed on church doctrine and the truths of our faith. We worship God together in song and prayer. Then the gifts of bread and wine are brought to the altar and we witness a miracle occur right before our eyes. As Father recites the words of consecration, the same words spoken by Christ at the Last Supper, the bread and wine transform into the body and , soul and divinity of the Risen, Living Jesus Christ. We don’t see the change. We can’t taste the change but our faith, and Christ Himself, tell us it is so.
Does this make a difference in how we live, act and speak? Are we as awed and amazed as the Apostles were on Mount Tabor?
Sadly, I know many people who come here to Mass on Sunday, out of habit. They say they are “bored”. It is the same thing week after week. Would they also be bored watching the Home Run Challenge and seeing Aaron Judge hit homerun after homerun?
Some people come to receive Christ casually walking as though they were picking up movie tickets at the box office. A few receive the Eucharist and walk directly to their cars to avoid the traffic out of the parking lot. Some leave before the final blessing. Some take time after communion, to speak with Jesus in prayer, thanking Him for His love and grace. They leave the Church different from when they entered. Hopefully they bring Christ with them into their homes, neighborhoods, schools or workplaces.
There s a beautiful song in our hymnals that my musc group used to sing when we led the music for Mass in our last parish. The refrain was:
“Look beyond the bread you eat
See your Savior and your Lord;
Look beyond the cup you drink
See His love poured out as blood.”
My brothers and sisters, we have been given a great gift, a miracle. May the grace of God fill us with awe and wonder. May we be changed and challenged by who we receive today and at every Mass.