"The Glory of Jesus' Divinity"

Second Sunday of Lent

8 March 2020

Year A

“The Glory of Jesus’ Divinity”

“This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well-pleased.” Mt. 17:5

In today’s Gospel (Mt. 17:1-9), we are given a glimpse of the great glory of God in heaven with Jesus’ Transfiguration before the three apostles, Peter, James and John while Jesus talks of his coming passion with the prophet Elias and the Father of the Law Moses. It is truly a tableau that is beyond our earthly comprehension. It is a glimpse at eternity. Jesus reveals some of His divinity as St. John says in the beginning of his gospel: “And we saw His glory—glory as of the only begotten of the Father –full of grace and truth.” Jn. 1:14. Pope St. Leo the Great tells us that Jesus reveals Himself to the apostles to remove from them the scandal of the cross which He had revealed several days before when He told them that He would suffer and rise from the dead: “...the primary purpose of the Transfiguration was to remove the scandal of the cross from the hearts of Christ’s disciples; the greatness of His glory was revealed to them to prevent their faith from being shaken by the self-abasement of the suffering He was voluntarily to undergo. By showing His apostle His transfigured body, Jesus would sustain them for His future suffering and death.”

God’s Plan of Salvation

In the first two readings, we see how all this is part of God’s plan of salvation from all eternity. In the First Reading from the Book of Genesis (12:1-4), we have the call of Abram who was to be the Father of “a Great Nation.” Gen. 12:2 from which the Messiah, Jesus Christ will come. St. Paul in the Second Reading ( Second Timothy 1:8-9) also tells of God’s plan in Jesus from all eternity: Who hath delivered us and called us by his holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the times of the world. II Tim 1:9 St. Paul goes on to tell us that Jesus has “...destroyed death, and hath brought to light life and incorruption by the gospel.” II Tim 1:10

By His cross and cross and resurrection Jesus has destroyed death. This is about what Moses and Elias are talking to Jesus. Only St. Luke’s account of the Transfiguration mentions this consideration about His death: And behold two men were talking with him. And they were Moses and Elias, appearing in majesty. And they spoke of his decease (death) that he should accomplish in Jerusalem.” Lk. 9:30-1 As a contrast, St. Peter wants to build three tabernacles for Jesus, Moses and Elias: “And Peter answering, said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.” Mt. 17:4 Peter, like us, would want to prolong the joy of their heavenly vision, but, of course, this is not possible in this world where we have to carry our cross like Jesus. This is why the Father comments that He is pleased with His Son: “And as he was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them. And lo, a voice out of the cloud, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him.” Mt.17:5 As a heavenly confirmation in this scene, we have a truly divine seal –a theophany. This is an explicit revelation of the Blessed Trinity—The Son is transfigured, The Father speaks and the Holy Spirit overshadows them as a bright cloud. What greater confirmation could we and apostles have of Jesus’ mission! He is confirmed by the Blessed Trinity! Pope St. Leo the Great comments on Jesus’ overshadowing Elias and Moses: “He is the one who teaches the truth of prophecy through His presence, and makes obedience to the commandments possible through grace.”

Suffer for Christ

re the cross in this life. Like Christ, we have to suffer! Jesus shows us this today. Rather than remain with the joyful and glorious transfiguration on Mt. Thabor, He goes on to Mt. Calvary carrying His cross: “Looking on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who having joy set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and now sitteth on the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb. 12:2 For Christ, the cross is not shameful or a scandal It is His way of show in His great love for us. He could have redeemed us with a prayer, a sigh or one tear or a drop of His blood: “Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Jn. 15:13 This is why the saints in order to return this love wanted to suffer; St. Teresa of Avila said: “Lord, let me suffer or die!” St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi said: “Lord, don’t let me die, but suffer.” So we should always embrace the cross and say, “Not my will by thine be done.” If we endure the cross in this life, then we shall have our transfiguration for all eternity in heaven where: “That eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him. I Cor. 2:9

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