The Transfiguration of Jesus is an event reported in the New Testament when Jesus is transfigured and becomes radiant in glory upon a mountain. Jesus begins to shine with bright rays of light. Then the prophets Moses and Elijah appear next to him and he speaks with them. The Transfiguration is one of the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels. This miracle is unique among others that appear in the Canonical gospels, in that the miracle happens to Jesus himself. Thomas Aquinas considered the Transfiguration "the greatest miracle" in that it complemented baptism and showed the perfection of life in Heaven. The Transfiguration is one of the five major milestones in the gospel narrative of the life of Jesus, the others being Baptism, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension. In 2002, Pope John Paul II introduced the Luminous Mysteries in the Rosary, which includes the Transfiguration.READ MORE
To love, we must be able to enact love, and we must be able to do it day in and day out in our work. It is this love that will guide us away from the carelessness that leads us to the destruction of the world and our neighbors through our every day, middleclass existence of buying plastics, fertilizing lawns, eating cheap food, and driving to soccer practices.
It is love that will ultimately move us toward being good and therefore doing good. “In order to be good, you have to know how,” writes Wendell Berry, “and this knowing is vast, complex, humble and humbling; it is of the mind and of the hands, of neither alone.” It is knowledge that requires a spirit and a body and so brings us necessarily to the question of livelihood.
Source: Wendell Berry and the Given Life
"Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid." Can it really be true? Is our heavenly Father actually so aware of us? Does the Creator of the universe pay that much attention to me? Jesus says yes. God knows us far more intimately than we even know ourselves. And so, we have nothing to fear.
Being Christian isn't guaranteed to be easy. More and more even in our own culture, following the faith is being criticized and discouraged in the public square. Privately, we may struggle with the demands of the commandments or the ability to believe when we face the inevitable trials that come our way. But passages like this one in today's Gospel are a source of tremendous hope and consolation. We are loved beyond measure. We enjoy the care and concern of God in every situation, big and small. Truly we have no need to worry or be anxious because God is in control.
For our part, of course, Jesus asks us to trust him and stay faithful. He asks us not to apologize for our faith, especially publicly. "Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father." When we live our faith with confidence, it's a way of accepting the power and providence of God. But when we try to hide our faith away because we're afraid of causing problems, we only damage our relationship with the One who can actually solve them.
"God so loved the world that He gave His only Son." We are used to this profound idea, so used to it that we often glaze over the incredible reality: God the Father has a Son who became man and dwelt among us! Too often we blithely make the sign of the cross in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, without realizing what a radical theology we are announcing.READ MORE
"Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, 'Peace be with you.'" Then, He said it again. And then, "He breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'" Jesus brings peace, and He brings the Holy Spirit. Peace, in fact, is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Today, on this feast of Pentecost, we remember the dramatic outpouring of the Holy Spirit that came upon those first apostles and the peace that came along with it. But we do more than remember. We also celebrate the presence of this same Spirit in our midst.READ MORE
"And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age." What consoling words Jesus had for His disciples, even as He was about to bring an end to His earthly minis-try. He had spent some time with them after His resurrection, but now His mission was complete and He was about to return to be with his Father in heaven. Undoubtedly this must have been a difficult moment for the disciples. But as if to reassure them, Jesus gives this remarkable promise: that He will ALWAYS be with them, even when He is no longer physically present. We know, of course, that the presence He is referring to come through the gift of the Holy Spirit. And what is most wonderful about this promise is that it also applies to us!
Jesus is with US always. His presence dwells in our hearts through the sacrament of baptism in which we receive the real, indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. We are not alone! The sometimes difficult journey of Christian life is not one we need to navigate solo. Christ himself ascended into heaven so that He could make Himself present in a more universal and timeless way through His Spirit to all people who call upon Him. Thus we rejoice on this feast of the Ascension. It's not so much about Jesus leaving. Rather, it's about Him continuing His mission in a new way, a way that includes us very directly.
"If you love Me you will keep My commandments." It's really as simple as that. We are only paying lip service to the Lord if we externally declare ourselves to be Christians but don't follow through on a life that confirms it. In our modern culture, we often think of love as a feeling or a kind of devotion. It is thus all too common to separate love from appropriate action. Perhaps we reassure ourselves that we love Jesus because we believe that He is the Son of God and our personal Savior. But these thoughts--or even any grateful or pleasant feelings that come along with them-are not the fullest manifestation of real love. Rather, as Jesus tells us directly in today's Gospel, "Whoever has My commandments and observes them is the one who loves Me."READ MORE
The Church takes us through the Acts of the Apostles in Easter season. Mostly every weekday and most weekends, the opening reading, normally given as an Old Testament reading, instead becomes a selection from Acts. Today we hear of the beginning of the diaconate ordained ministry of the Church. We hear in the text about who were the first seven ones: “Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit, also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas of Antioch.” Today’s men of the Permanent Diaconate, such as our own Deacon David Barnes, follows in the continued use of this ministry.
"Whoever enters through Me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture." Jesus uses the image of a gate today to help us understand how we are to relate to Him. He is our path to "pasture," in other words, to the peace and prosperity that we long for. He shows us the way to find all that we need right there before us.