Be sure to view the images and commentary on the Mass as the "Holy Transfiguration" below the artistic renderings of the Transfiguration and my "mini-homily" on it!
Four wonderful artistic renderings of the Transfiguration:
On this Second Sunday of Lent, we hear the Gospel concerning the Transfiguration of Jesus. Jesus takes Peter, James and John up the holy mountain where He is transfigured and these three apostles come to a clearer understanding about the true Identity and true Nature of Jesus. Obviously, they are quite fascinated by the whole occurrence, wide awake and filled with wonder, fear and awe. They want to remain with Jesus on this mountain top. But Jesus insists that they “come down the mountain” and head toward Golgotha.
These very same apostles, Peter, James and John, are a bit mistaken on what it means to take the road that will lead to Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection. After all, they have witnessed the glory of Christ on the mountain top and there is nothing else to fear since Jesus is God.
This might explain why these very same apostles, Peter, James and John cannot remain awake with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Unlike their wide-awake intrigue, fear, wonder and awe on the Mountain of the Transfiguration, in the Garden where Jesus undergoes His agony, they are sound asleep, indifferent to Jesus’ impending passion and death. He’s God after all, be happy, don’t worry, just sleep in “heavenly peace.”
Our lives as Catholics are intimately bound to not only the glory of the Risen Christ, but also His passion and death. We are not yet in heaven. We will continue to get sick, suffer, sin and die because the work of redemption while complete in heaven is not yet complete in this life on this side of our Lord’s Second Coming. All the suffering, sins and deaths of those who ever have lived, are living or will live, are placed on Jesus during His entire earthly existence in the Flesh, beginning with the Incarnation through His passion, death and resurrection. Yet, not until the last person to be conceived will the Lord return, for He suffered and died for everyone who was ever or will be conceived. So we will continue on this side of life to need to be awake not only for the Glory of Christ in the Sacraments and in our lives, but also for the Passion of Christ in the Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist and in our lives and the lives of others.
This has ramifications for the manner in which we celebrate the Ordinary Form of the Holy Mass. Is it a transfiguration experience for us, where we are filled with wonder, fear and awe, wanting to remain with Jesus or is it like the Garden of Gethsemane for us, where like Peter, James and John, we can't stay awake and drift into oblivious sleep? Maybe our eyes are open, but our hearts far from Jesus' passion, death and resurrection.
What is your spiritual attitude toward these images of our Lord's Transfiguration? It should be like that of Peter, James and John at the Transfiguration, not at the Garden of Gethsemane:
Extraordinary Form Requiem Transfiguration (all Masses celebrate the Passion, death and Resurrection of the Risen Lord!)
Awe, wonder, fear, intrigue at this powerful "Transfiguring" Image?
Every Knee Shall Bow! Does yours?
That's a Grand Candle for the Light of Christ!
The Blessing of the Easter Water for Holy Baptism
Jesus Christ washing away sins in the Easter waters of Holy Baptism:
Washed clean and forgiven by the Blood of Christ, clothed in Glory!
The Sweet Smell of the Holy Spirit penetrating skin, bone, marrow and soul, yes the sweet smell of Godly success! Confirmed in the Holy Spirit!
The Great Easter Vigil Eucharistic Prayer: It is similar to the Transfiguration for at every Mass, all who are redeemed or are being redeemed are present at Mass, including the Church Triumphant, with Moses and Elijah in the presence of the Risen Lord!
The newly baptized and confirmed, along with candidates who were received into the full communion of the Catholic Church and confirmed, with godparents, sponsors and the whole assembly of God's Holy People, witnessing yet another Transfiguration, bread and wine becoming the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Risen Lord, consecrated by Christ Himself as He did at the Last Supper when He instituted the Holy Mass. The Last Supper is where Jesus institutes not only the Mass as the means by which we remember Jesus' Sacrifice on the Cross which He already anticipates on Holy Thursday, but where Jesus ordains the 12 Apostles to be the first priests of the Church who will offer this Sacrifice in "perpetuity" until the Lord returns. Every priest ordained since the Last Supper continues to do this! This Eucharistic Assembly at Easter eagerly awaits receiving Him worthily so that Christ will continue to make them a part of Him whom they receive. The priest, a representative from this congregation, chosen by God, ordained by the Church, is the sacramental sign of Jesus offering Himself as the sacrificial Lamb on the altar of the cross, to His Heavenly Father, who accepts His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, His Sacrifice and all who participate in this Sacrifice at the "Foot of the Cross!" We are there, but in an wonderful, miraculous, unbloody way! The priest at the moment of consecration is the image of Jesus Christ the exclusive High Priest, Good Shepherd and Bridegroom of the Church, all the baptized being Christ's Holy Bride! The ordained priest also represents and offers this Sacrifice on the ordained priest's behalf and all those present who along with the priest offer the sacrifice. Do you have the awe and wonder of these newly baptized in their white robes, washed in the blood of Christ, this image of the heavenly Liturgy portrayed in the Book of Revelation? As newly baptized, they are offering this eternal sacrifice for the first time with their priest who is their visible, priestly mediator and united to them at the Altar of God. Or do you sleep through it?
At Mass, does this sacramental image come to your mind?
The Baltimore Catechism's Imagery, not bad really! How many today realize this?
Do you think that children formed by this type of celebration of a children's Mass view the Mass like Peter James and John at the Transfiguration? NO! Do any of us who take the Mass seriously doubt that this form of celebrating the Mass has diminished or destroyed the faith of more than three generations of Catholics, who as children experience this silliness at Mass and in the classroom? NO!
This is no "fast food meal" folks, this is the Eternal Wedding Banquet of the Lamb! It is the most formal meal imaginable, greater than a White House Dinner, a royal banquet offered by Queen Elizabeth or the first meal of a victim of starvation! This neophyte,with Jesus completing her initiation into the Church by her First Holy Communion at the Easter Vigil approaches in awe and wonder, fear and trepidation, grateful for the experience she is having that is greater than what Peter, James and John experienced on the Mountain of the Transfiguration. Do you realize this good Catholic men and women?
The completion of the Sacraments of Initiation for this Neophyte at the Easter Vigil, sins washed away by Christ in the Waters of Baptism, the sweet smell of the Holy Spirit still present who has seeped into this man's flesh, bone, marrow and indelibly into his soul and now sharing in the Paschal Banquet, the "Meal" of the Mass,thus fully Catholic, fully united to Christ's Body the Church by Jesus Himself who is the Head of the Body. It doesn't get any better than this folks. The transfiguration is but a foretaste of what every Catholic who worthily receives the Lamb experiences!
Receiving the Precious Body and Blood of Christ from the Chalice--this is a Communion in the Blood of Christ poured out for our salvation!
Onward Christian Soldier, led by the cross of Christ to the glory of the resurrection and the eternalwedding banquet of the Lamb.O what it is like to be in that number!
These children are on the way to transfigured glory!
Processing to their First Holy Communion and receiving our Lord as Food. Bread that is Jesus, to nourish and sustain us on our procession to glory; Wine that is Jesus, Who brings joy and warmth to the heart that is redeemed by His Precious Blood!
These children have made their First Holy Communion, you can see the joy on their little faces. May it always be that way for them!
"May the Body of Christ keep you safe until life everlasting!"
"The Blood of Christ"