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Contents: Volume 2 - The Transfiguration of the Lord – A –
August 6, 2017


The Trans-


of the


1. -- Lanie LeBlanc OP

2. -- Barbara Cooper, OP

3. -- Carol & Dennis Keller

4. -- Brian Gleeson CP

5. --

6. – (Your reflection can be here!)





The Transfiguration 2017

Our Gospel reading tells us that Jesus led three of his friends up a high mountain by themselves. Perhaps they thought they were Jesus's "favorites" and were feeling a bit prideful. Imagine their surprise when the "treat' was an unexpected voice from a cloud telling them to "listen to him."

To me, that seems a bit like a reality check in today's world. Sometimes we are going about our daily routine when something happens that stops us right in our tracks, making us think more deeply than we have in quite a while. Sometimes we are expecting something and who knows what else actually occurs. Sometimes our wish list is shredded in an instant.

We, too, often become afraid... but Jesus touches us as well. I think life in our world often surprises us when it spins at one of two uncomfortable speeds: either really slow motion or whiz-by speed. We seem to recognize Jesus best when he comes to us either in the daze of the miserable fog of mindless routine or at the sudden proverbial wall that stops our head-spinning, break-neck spiral just before disaster. In those cases, where it seems that there is nothing or no one "left"... surprise!, there is Jesus. Then, and sometimes only then, we are ready to listen to him.

Most of us live in-between those two extremes speeds, at least most days, however. . Does Jesus need to be transformed before us during those ordinary times for us to "listen to him"? When our days are more moderately paced, I think it would be wise to review Jesus's instructions and examples rather than await a crash course in remembering Who He is.

The "listen to him" part needs to be a vibrant component of our routine. Daily is best, weekly is minimal. This doesn't mean lending half an ear to the homily on Sunday, but rather active reflection on such things as the daily Scriptures or how the day's events match up with the Scripture you know. Learning more about Jesus's words and deeds through a Bible Study group or simply reading what reliable authors say about our faith can be great options, too.

The options seem limited only by our creativity in making the time to do them. If our physician or sports coach told us to do this or that in a way implied by our reading, wouldn't we take that advice rather seriously? Isn't it time to make time to "listen to Him", the greatest Physician or Coach of all times???


Dr. Lanie LeBlanc OP

Southern Dominican Laity





Feast of the Transfiguration – A – August 6th, 2017

Do you remember Eeyore, the sad little donkey in Winnie the Pooh stories? He has an cloud of depression that is hard to miss. It is a part of who he is.

One of my neighbours has an aura of anger. Even when she feels good and smiles, the sense of her spirit of anger leaks out. Another neighbour has a positive, upbeat spirit that is grateful for even the smallest joys of life. She radiates joy in gratitude that her stroke didn't disable her dominant right hand.

Today, Matthew tells us about the inner spirit that shines through Jesus'. In the company of Peter, James, and John, Jesus goes up a "high mountain", a place associated with encounters with the Holy One. There, he appears with two great men of Spirit: Moses and Elijah. Of Moses it is said:

"When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them. Afterward all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai."

There was definitely "something" about Jesus too. His relationship with the One he called "Father" radiated from him. In what we celebrate today, "the Transfiguration", his whole body and even his clothing became suffused with light. The Presence of the Divine glowed in him. His spiritual power healed people, and modelled the reality of God's kingdom. And the voice of God proclaimed: "This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him."

"Listen to him". Hear his teaching, see his life example, feel his Spirit living in you. We are also called to "shine". In John's Gospel we are often invited to become a "home for God". "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them."

Jesus is about more than saying: "Isn't he wonderful!! What a Mensch! The Son of God". We are invited to listen, to live, to become radiant with the Presence of God.

"This is my beloved .... Listen to him.

Barbara Cooper, OP

Vancouver Island, BC Canada





Feast of the Transfiguration, August 6, 2017

Daniel 7:9-10 &13-14; Responsorial Psalm 97; 2nd Peter 1:16-19; Matthew 17:1-9

Seven billion people in the world, give or take a million or so, and I’m just one of those. It’s a very humbling thought that I’m only one. What’s so important about any single one on us that would allow us to believe we’re worth God’s attention? How difficult is it that we could rationally believe the Creator God would intervene in human life by sending his Son to be one of us? Isn’t this so far beyond the capacity of our minds to accept?

This Transfiguration Sunday the gospel asks us to accompany Jesus, Peter, James, and John to the heights of a mountain. What should we expect? Climbing mountains is hard work; it tires us. Are we going up to find a place of solitude to pray? Does Jesus have some words for us, some understanding of God’s intentions? But first just a little sleep! What happens when we stir and wake? We see Jesus with two others! How did they get here? Who are they? They look like the mental images we had of Moses and Elijah. We must be dreaming! But how is it the three of us share in the same dream? Jesus’ clothing is shining with non-reflected light, as though the light were coming from his body. His face is shining – how else can we describe it? It gives off bright light putting all things around us and even us into high relief. The light from him forms shadows of us on the rock behind us. What is happening? Jesus is talking with this Moses. He is the one through whom our people received the law. The law changed our way of living and we became a people. We became a nation bound with each other not by the power or wealth of an emperor or a tyrant. We were not forced to follow a rule of order by a strong police force. We are a nation that in our better times cared about each other, supported each other. We came together, rich and poor, old and young, healthy and sick, elite and ordinary: we came together three times each year at the Temple of the Lord. There we brought the work of our hands and the longing of our hearts as gifts to the Lord. We came three times a year in great festival and celebration to offer thanksgiving sacrifices to the Lord for the gifts his hand had extended to us.

Yet, here we are on this mountain and we see Jesus speaking with this Law Giver. With him is Elijah, the great prophet who led us by his actions and his words to understandings of the heart that were more than ritual, more than the law putting order in the chaos of human interaction. Here is Elijah the prophet, the one who explained God’s presence among us and pointed to his work of healing as a constant energy among the people God had chosen to bring understanding, peace, healing, and hope to the world. The three disciples shared in the hope of the nation that the prophet Micah had promised. That before the Messiah, the one who would put all things right, the one who would heal the nation of its wanderings and infidelities, the one who would establish a new kingdom, the one who would be the start of the final age of humanity: before the coming of that great and awesome person there would be a return of Elijah. Some said John the Baptizer was Elijah returned. But here, on this mountain, here was the one taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot, seen by Elisha as a wheel within a wheel. These three together – the Law Giver, the Great Prophet and Jesus – this revealed to the three disciples that Jesus was Moses’ and Elijah’s equal: well, more than that. Jesus is the next great step in God’s intervention in history.

If we understand this event from the minds and experience of Peter, James, and John, this event on the mountain becomes much more than a miracle. It is the opening of a door into a new beginning. This is not a event. It is the beginning of something never before seen.

But this is not all there is to this. Peter, always quick to find a way to support what he thinks is Jesus’ agenda, offers the suggestion they should set up three tents, one for each of the persons in their vision. This would certify these three remain present on this mountain and available to the disciples and all others. It would be a wonderful development for the life of the nation and a call to all those dispersed throughout the earth to return home. The twelve tribes would come together and be again one nation, under God.

For us this story is often considered a legend, a myth to prove some point about Jesus, about God. What contradicts the emptiness of that thought is what happens next. In addition to the three dialoging, there is a luminous cloud, a cloud filled with light overshadowing the three. Jesus had been described as emanating light. Yet this cloud made him appear to be in shadow! From this cloud came a voice, a strong, firm, convincing voice. "This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." Listen to him! There is nothing more to say. "Listen to him!" is directed to the three disciples and to us as well. Listen to him! What more can Peter say? What more can we say?

The first reading is from the prophet Daniel. The name Daniel means "my judge is God." It’s not a very long book as books of the Hebrew Scriptures go: just fourteen chapters. The point of this prophet is that God is Master of history. All the events of history are used by God to further his plan. In our reading, Daniel describes the Messiah, the one sent from God. This Messiah comes not from among mankind, not from earth: he comes not from the nether world, the world of the dead. Moses and Elijah are from that nether world. But this one like the Son of Man comes on the clouds of heaven. That is, the Messiah comes from the Ancient One. This Ancient One is described in terms of brilliant light and purifying fire. This Ancient One is ministered to by thousands upon thousands; and attended to by myriads of myriads. God’s work in history is carried out by thousands upon thousands. God’s work is the work of his people. Clearly, the Ancient One – been around from forever – enlists the efforts, the work, the hearts of all those who are willing to listen to the Ancient One. The one like a Son of man is the one who inspires, leads, gathers those who listen to the Ancient One. God is the Master of History.

The second reading is from the second letter of Peter. His is another account of the transfiguration of Jesus. He insists he was an eyewitness to this event. He tells those who hear his letter what God told the three disciples: "We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain. Moreover, we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts."

We would do well to be attentive to the prophetic message. The world of this moment is in a frightful state. Who is there rejoicing in the conflicts of nations, in the use of terror to manipulate hearts and minds, in the fabrications and spin of facts that slaughter truth? God is still the Master of History. Doesn’t it make supreme sense to "listen to him"?

We began this reflection thinking that one individual among billions isn’t of much account. Rational thinking would think one person is only a single grain on a beach of quadrillions of grains of sand. Our minds search for a place, a spot where we might make a difference. The vast majority of us lack the leverage, the fulcrum, and clearly the place to stand from which we can move the world. Yet, a single Son of man changed human history forever. Of course, we ebb and flow as humanity. We allow and disallow the ears of our hearts to collect the words and deeds of the Christ. The deeds of the Christ are not only those words and deeds of Jesus some two thousand years ago. It includes the words and deeds of Moses and Elijah. It includes the words and deeds of unknown ancestors, forgotten grandparents. That’s part of the message this Sunday. We are connected with those who have walked the walk centuries ago. That includes those we know and those hidden in the shadows of history. What makes these individuals capable of advancing God’s plan is what is in their hearts. The work of Jesus in his ministry is proof of God’s love for us. He spent the first years of his life, the majority of his life growing up as we did. He worked as a carpenter – St. Justin tells us Jesus made farming implements used to provide food. Then he walked as a preacher and healer. And the healing of the sick, the addicted, the possessed, the hearts hardened by sin, and his preaching of peace, joy, and the love of God is the message, the Good News. But his ministry and preaching continued through a phony trial, violent torture, and crucifixion. He lived as a child, learned a trade and practiced it, went among the people teaching and healing and, summing up his message, he died on the cross. He is one like to a Son of man coming on the clouds from God. He proved beyond any question the heart of God the creator. To confirm this Son-ship, God raised up this Jesus and made of him into the first born of a new creation. God became man, one of us, and shared in our lives to prove to us that God knows by reason of experience what we must endure. Who can now deny God loves us? This is no longer a god far removed from humanity on some Mount Olympus. The voice from the luminous cloud tells us Jesus is his Son – this one we believed was only one of us – and we should listen to him. We must listen to him in his words and in his work.

This is a terrible time in human history. Who can discern the truth of anyone, of anything? We’re close to a nuclear conflagration: we’ve abused our common home, laying waste to vast tracts of food producing land, polluting our waters, acidifying our bountiful oceans. The conflict among those who believe there is nothing wrong with our earth and those who weep over its destruction will only increase.

What to do? How to bring humanity into a community of caring and love instead of armed camps wishing death and destruction on the other.

"Listen to him!"

Carol & Dennis Keller






God has just said to us about Jesus: ‘This is my own dear Son, with whom I am very pleased - listen to him!’ (Mt 17:5).

Someone giving a sermon or homily might sometimes wonder: - ‘How many people are really listening? Is anybody listening from start to finish? Will those listening now remember anything later? In any case, can a homily ever start to change another person’s life?’ I know of at least one particular instance where it really and truly did.

There’s this man called Mark, who lives a very long way from here. At 12, he was a bit wild at school. At 14, he was smoking and drinking. At 16, he started taking drugs - -mostly cannabis, speed and ecstasy. At 18, he moved on to heroin. At 19, he was injecting crack and heroin every day. At 22, his life seemed completely destroyed. He had no home, no family, and almost no possessions other than the clothes he stood up in. He had lost one leg when he was high and walked in front of a car. He had tried to kill himself three times - twice by taking drug overdoses, and once by trying to hang himself. When he went to church, it was not to pray but to beg from the people there. He found that just after Mass Catholic Christians tend to be particularly generous.

But one Sunday, as happens today, the gospel of the Transfiguration was presented. In the homily that followed he heard the priest say this:

The meaning of the Transfiguration is that God does not make junk. God created the world - and what God makes is good. God created Abraham and raised him up to be the father of many nations. God sent his only Son into the world to live, die and rise again for our salvation and transformation. So much so that St Paul has asked: ‘If God is for us, who can be against us? Since he did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for the sake of us all, then can we not expect that with him he will freely give us all his gifts? Who can bring any accusation against those that God has chosen? Can anything cut us off from the love of Christ…?’ (Romans 8:31-35).

At the end of his homily, the priest made all the people stand up and say with conviction: ‘God made me; God doesn't make junk.’ So, along with all the rest, Mark felt compelled to get up and say: ‘God made me; God doesn't make junk.’

But many days later, those words were still burning into Mark's heart: ‘God made me; God doesn't make junk.’ It became his prayer. It became his faith. It became his life.

With the courage of his new convictions behind him, Mark gave up drugs. He found a wife and he found a life. Not in a moment, of course, not even in a few weeks, but over months and years, he was transfigured and transformed. He took to heart the implications of the Transfiguration of Jesus: ‘God made me; God doesn't make junk’, and ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’ (Romans 8:31).

What about us? Where do we stand? Do we really want to be transfigured and transformed by listening to Jesus our Saviour – listening with our hearts and listening with full attention to his words, his teachings, his example, and his inspiration? Do we?

Surely we do! Today? Tomorrow? Always?

"Brian Gleeson CP" <>









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