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of the Transfiguration of the Lord, Cycle A
11:00 St. Mary Magdalen
“Beloved”? All of Us!
(Rev. Msgr.) Nicholas P. Amato
The Message: Beloved
The message today is clearly about Jesus himself.
But, of course, this focus also leads to us. There is a message for us about (1) Who we are and (2) How we are to live.
The Gospel passage says that Jesus is “transfigured.”
The word means that he himself doesn’t change, but his appearance to others changes. Peter, James and John see him differently from how they have ever before seen him.
Now, these three disciples are probably aware of the description of “The Ancient One” – that’s the expression used in the Book of Daniel, our first reading. Daniel has this vision of “The Ancient One” – God the Father.
He sees light and brightness surrounding the Father and testifies that, “His clothing was bright as snow, and his hair white as light.”
In a similar way, the disciples see Jesus’ “face shining like the sun and his clothes as white as light.” So, for this reason the 3 disciples made the connection with “the Ancient One.”
They now know for sure that Jesus has a unique relationship with God. They are, in fact, ready to say that he is one with God. And perhaps even that in some way he is God.
And then a voice from a cloud nails it down for the disciples.
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” “This is my beloved Son.”
The disciples hear words that confirm what they are seeing. This man whom they have been following, Jesus, is the Son of God.
Christians: The Beloved
One of our Catholic theologians takes these words spoken from the cloud a step further.
He says that God is saying the same words to us. “You are my beloved daughter. You are my beloved son.”
God is saying these words to each of us who is connected with Jesus through baptism.
I would hold that these powerful words — “God’s unconditional love for us” — form the foundation of our self-worth and give us a basis for our self-esteem.
So, maybe each day it would be good to prayerfully imagine God saying these words to us. They give us a footing for the day – to live out of that sense of self-worth.
Maybe we can especially hear God saying these words when we feel down, when we feel failure, when we feel left out and when we feel put down by others. If we let ourselves hear these words in those moments, we can continue to live out of our inherent worth as persons.
This will help us not to give up on life and not to strike back at others. We will know intuitively that we are okay and worthy no matter what is going on.
All: The Beloved
Now there is one more message here about Jesus and about us.
The passage says that Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus.
Moses is the giver of the Law and Jesus says that he, Jesus, comes to fulfill the Law. The Law says that we are not to kill and now Jesus says that we are not to act with destructive anger in any way.
Elijah is the last great prophet and Jesus says that he, himself, also comes to fulfill the prophets.
The prophets say to care for the poor and the stranger and now Jesus says that when we care for these persons, we are actually caring for him.
So Jesus fulfills what Moses and Elijah say. He respects them and accepts what they say and takes it further.
He doesn’t bash or trash them as a way to assert himself and his teaching. The message here is that we also are not to bash and trash.
We are not to shame and humiliate others. We are not to do this in a one-on-one relationship or in front of others.
We don’t have to do that to feel worthwhile and good about ourselves because our self-worth, remember, comes from God. We are God’s beloved sons and daughters.
We don’t this to others because they also are God’s sons and daughters. We need to recall, and recall, often those words from the cloud today.
Quite a passage of Scripture this morning!
A great statement about Jesus and who he is. And a great statement about who we are and how we are to live!