Today’s Gospel is the account of the Transfiguration. This is what we call an “epiphany story,” as the word epiphany means “manifestation.” Such stories are common in the ancient writings about holy people. Through these stories, the veil which separates the invisible from the visible world, and the future from the present, is removed for a moment, and the truth is revealed. The Transfiguration is the earliest epiphany story about Jesus, older than the voice of the Father at Jesus’ baptism, and older than the manifestation of Jesus to the Magi.
The first and most important significance of the Transfiguration was for Jesus himself. It was meant to both affirm and confirm him in his mission, the very purpose for which the Father sent him into the world. It also was of great benefit to Peter, James and John, who accompanied him to the top of Mt. Tabor. This is what Mark emphasizes. In the transfigured Jesus they got a glimpse of the glory of the Risen Lord. Even so, they would not understand the full impact of the Transfiguration until Jesus had risen from the dead.
On the mountain Elijah and Moses appeared to them. Moses, the Law-giver, and Elijah, the greatest of the prophets. The presence of these two showed that Jesus came as the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets.
Each day God gifts us with small transfigurations, glimpses into what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. He reminds us that death does not have the final word, life does. The second verse from the song, Jerusalem, My Destiny, states, “See, I leave the past behind; a new land calls to me. Here among you now I find a glimpse of what might be.”
As we continue our Lenten journey, may our eyes be opened to the beauty that is around us, small transfigurations in our midst revealing the Kingdom.
A couple of other notes:
I had originally intended to continue the Scripture study on the Gospel of Mark. However, due to conflicts with activities scheduled in the school hall, I will not be able to resume the study during the Season of Lent.
I received the final parish report from the archdiocese regarding the 2017 Catholic Stewardship Appeal. Through your generosity, with our goal being $88,000, we raised $91,821. Once again, my sincere thanks to all who contributed. You continue to show me the spirit of generosity for which St. Joseph Parish is well-known in the archdiocese.
The current Appeal is now underway with the theme, “Decide to Lead.” May the Holy Spirit guide you in making your gift to the 2018 Appeal. All gifts, no matter the amount, are needed and make up the whole. Thanks for your support.
- Father Dennis, February 25, 2018