Pondering Christ by Rev. Paul Grankauskas
Reprinted by permission of "The Arlington Catholic Herald"
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Mark wrote to explain Christ
to the new Gentile converts.
Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, "Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; from the cloud came a voice. "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him." Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them.
As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant.
I remember once being taught by another priest that I should be able to summarize my homilies in one line. I have always tried to abide by that, but for this commentary I am going to depart from that rule and offer two points for consideration.
Like our Blessed Mother, we ponder the words and deeds of Christ in our hearts and minds. Here we see Christ transfigured, His clothes becoming "dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could make them." Here we see Christ radiant and resplendent, bathed in light. Later we will see Him reduced to a bloody mess in his Passion. We see Him scourged, crowned with thorns, crucified and buried. Christ's divine majesty - the glory and power that is His as the divine Son - is hidden behind a human nature that gets tired and hungry and experiences true pain and suffering.
When we consider the nature of the Church, the mystical body of Christ, we might see nothing more than a body bruised and battered by my own sins and the sins of others. But, we have to remember that the risen, glorified Christ is at work in that same mystical body, transforming and sanctifying her. In the Mass, it is Christ who is offering and offered in the eucharistic sacrifice and who feeds us with His body and blood. In the sacrament of penance, it is Christ who absolves.
In other words, we need to see that the Church triumphant in heaven is the same Church on pilgrimage here below. It is in and through the Church, His mystical body, that Christ prepares us for sharing the glories of heaven. We believe in a Church that is holy as well as one, catholic and apostolic. She is holy because she is united to Christ her head, who is all holy. She is made holy by Christ who communicates His life and love to us through her.
Peter acknowledged that it was good to be on that mountain during the transfiguration. We might echo Peter's words every time we visit the Blessed Sacrament. Surely it is good to be in the presence of the Lord. Sometimes people we hang out with quite a bit begin to rub off on us, influencing the way we think and act. Our most ardent desire as those who bear the name of Christ - as those who long to be saints - should be to have the heart and mind of Christ. The more we contemplate His words and deeds, His goodness and love, the more we may be transformed by Him.
I have no doubt many of us will be taking a vacation this summer. We can fill up that "time off" with a lot of activity. In addition to taking along a novel, we might want to take along a good spiritual book, make time to pray a rosary and most certainly find a church so we can attend Mass. The voice of the Father said to the Apostles, "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him." It is rather hard to do that if I am not willing to open the door and spend some time with Him.
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