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Spend Some Time with the Crucified Christ

Today's Gospel account is about the transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor. This event is what we call an epiphany story. Such stories are common in ancient writing about holy people. In 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. This is the earliest epiphany story about Jesus, older than the voice at his baptism, and older than the manifestation of Jesus to the Magi.

It is no longer possible to say what happened on the mountain. The first and chief significance of the event was for Jesus himself. It was meant to confirm him in the course he had taken. But it also benefited the apostles, and it is this that Mark emphasizes. In the transfigured Jesus they got a glimpse of the glory of the Risen Lord. Even so, they would not understand until Jesus has risen from the dead.

On the mountain Elijah and Moses appeared with Jesus. Moses represented the Law and Elijah the prophets. This was to confirm that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets.

Our First Reading today shows the depth of Abraham's faith in God. Living among the Canaanites who practiced human sacrifice, we see Abraham doing what he thought God was asking of him. He was willing to sacrifice his only son out of obedience. This was a foreshadowing of what God would do for the salvation of the world.

The Second Reading is obviously linked to the First Reading. It reveals to us the depth of God's love for the human race. "He did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him."

This week we are invited to spend some time gazing on the Crucified Christ and reflecting on the ultimate sacrifice he made for each one of us. We are also reminded that suffering and death are the only way to resurrection and glory.

— Fr. Dennis, March 7, 2021