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The Eucharist – a Foretaste of Heaven

Think about disfiguration and transfiguration and what they are.  I ask you to picture in your mind an old oil lamp covered with layers of dirt and grime.  How ugly it looks to the naked eye.  Then someone decides to clean off the layers of dirt, polishes it until it begins to shine, and then lights it.  Suddenly the ugly lamp is transformed and glows, radiating light and beauty to every corner of the room.  Prior to this is was disfigured with dust and dirt, now it is transfigured with beauty.  However, it is the same lamp.  When an object, or a person, is loved and cared for, it is redeemed, and made bright.

Jesus’ divinity was cloaked by his humanity.  When Jesus, along with Peter, James and John, ascended Mount Tabor, God’s light burst forth from the body of Jesus, and he was transfigured.  The three apostles got a glimpse of his divinity and they were overcome with the beauty and brightness of it.  It was not something superficial but an inner essence shining through.  God was in Jesus.

The potential for good and evil lies within each one of us.  We are capable of such things as anger, hatred, bitterness, envy, cruelty, greed, lust, and so on and so forth.  These are ugly things that can and do bring out the worst in a person.  They corrupt the heart and disfigure the person.

When the good shines forth; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, mercy, compassion, so on and so forth, these virtues bring out the very best in us.  They purify the heart and goodness transfigures us. 

Basically, we are transfigured by what we love, what excites us, what motivates us, what lifts our spirit, what causes us to be awake and alive.  It is then that we are fully human, fully alive!

The reality is that at times all of us can feel down, a prey to our feelings because of the circumstances in our life.  But then suddenly something good happens to us, something that awakens our inner spirit: a friend calls, we receive a card in the mail, or something we perceived in a negative light suddenly turns into a positive experience.  A spark of joy or hope or love has been kindled in our hearts, and we see ourselves and our life in a brighter light.

Like Peter, James and John, we too can experience rare moments of light and joy.  We get glimpses of the Promised Land toward which we are traveling in faith.  God’s love for us is so great that he wants us to taste here on Earth the joys of the world to come.  And where is the best and most powerful experience of this?  In our celebration of the Eucharist which is the foretaste and promise of heaven.  See you at Mass!

– Fr. Dennis, March 12, 2017