• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Friday, 23 February 2018 17:27

Second Sunday in Lent - Year B - 2018

Written by Fr Larry Nemer SVD


Fr Larry Nemer SVD 150The gospels mention several times that Jesus went off by himself to pray, usually at night. But twice he took Peter, James and John with him – once on Tabor when He was transfigured and once in the Garden of Olives when He sweated blood. We don’t know why He took these three on these occasions but we can be grateful that He did – they became eyewitnesses to His prayer. Peter, in his First Letter, even makes reference to the fact that he had witnessed the prayer of Jesus when He talked with His Father, Moses and Elijah. But their reaction to being present at each experience was different. On Tabor they wanted to build tents in order to prolong the experience. In the Garden they fell asleep.

We read the story of the Transfiguration on the second Sunday of Lent every year. It is as if the Church wants to remind us of this experience before we enter into the lead up to Jesus’ passion.

There are two things that struck me in this story as I read it again this year. The first is that Jesus was a Jew in the tradition of Moses and Elijah. Jesus was physically in the presence of His Father and so His body and garments were transfigured. The same thing had happened to Moses on Mount Sinai. His face glowed so much after the experience that the people asked him to veil his face. This sometimes happened in the lives of the saints as well. I remember reading that people were not allowed to attend the Masses of St. Philip Neri toward the end of his life because during it he was so transfigured and elevated that they never knew how long the Mass would take.

But Jesus spoke not only with His Father but also with Moses and Elijah. Moses was the most heroic figure in Jewish history – the man who led them out of Egypt and to the Promised Land and who gave them the Law by which to live if the people were to remain close to their living God. Elijah was perhaps the most heroic of the prophets – the man who called the people to live proper Jewish lives, healing people and guiding them. It was understood that he would return to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah.

One cannot help wondering what they talked about. The Gospels say that they talked about His up-coming passion and death. One wonders if Jesus talked with them about the gospel He was preaching about God’s love for all creation and the call for all people to love one another. He would have seen His teaching as consistent with that of Moses and Elijah. And He might have asked why was He rejected and why would He have to die. We can only speculate, but it is clear that Jesus saw Himself as a Jewish teacher faithful to the teaching and works of Moses and Elijah. He came to perfect that tradition, not to destroy it.

The second thing that struck me was that even at this moment of intense contact with these three – a moment so blessed that He was transfigured – a moment when He knew definitely that He was loved by the Father and Moses and Elijah – they talked about “failure” – His rejection and death.

One time I was standing on the steps of our Seminary in Techny after a Sunday Mass and a man came up to talk with me. He said: You probably don’t remember me, but I came to confession to you three months ago here at the Seminary. He said: my life at the time was falling apart. My wife and children were going to leave me. My business was collapsing. I was destroying myself with drink. I just want to let you know that after that confession everything changed. My wife and children are not going to leave me, and my business is doing better than it has ever done before. At that point I felt a chill run down my back. I thought: that is not what God has promised – that if we are good, everything will go well in our life. Sometimes things do not go well, even when we are being as faithful to Christ as we can be. Jesus was faithful to God, and yet he suffered and was killed.

The transfiguration story reminds us that we must continue to be faithful to Christ even when things go terribly wrong – just as Jesus was even in the face of His rejection and death.

Last modified on Thursday, 22 March 2018 12:36

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