HEBREWS 11: 1 – 7
Brethren: Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old received divine approval. By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear. By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he received approval as righteous, God bearing witness by accepting his gifts; he died, but through his faith he is still speaking. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was attested as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, took heed and constructed an ark for the saving of his household; by this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness which comes by faith
The Word of the Lord.
Psalm 145: 2 – 3, 4 – 5, 10 – 11 (R.) 1b
R/. I will bless your name, O Lord, forever.
I will bless you day after day,
And praise your name forever and ever.
The Lord is great and highly to be praised;
His greatness cannot be measured. R/.
Age to age shall proclaim your works,
shall declare your mighty deeds.
They will tell of your great glory and splendour,
and recount your wonderful works. R/.
All your works shall thank you, O Lord,
and all your faithful ones bless you.
They shall speak of the glory of your reign,
and declare your mighty deeds. R/.
Mark 9: 6
The heavens opened, and the Father’s voice was heard: “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”
“He was transfigured before them.”
MARK 9: 2 – 13
At that time: Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves; and he was transfigured before them, and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses; and they were talking to Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were exceedingly afraid. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud. “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” And suddenly looking around they no longer saw any one with them but Jesus only. And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of man should have risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what the rising from the dead meant. And they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” And he said to them, “Elijah does come first to restore all things; and how is it written of the Son of man, that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt? But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Listen to Him
February 18, 2023
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. (Mark 9:2–3)
The message of the Transfiguration must become, for each of us, a message that inspires the deepest hope throughout life. Through this event, the glory of God was revealed, the teachings of Moses and the prophets were confirmed, and the Father sent forth the only message we need to understand: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” If we can understand this truth and follow this command, we will eternally share in the glories the Transfiguration revealed.
To begin, consider the fact that this revelation, by which the human veil of Jesus’ flesh was lifted, left Peter and the other disciples in a state of holy awe. Peter wanted to remain on the mountain with His transfigured Lord forever. Contrast this to his choice to run when Jesus was arrested and then to deny he even knew Jesus. When he saw Jesus’ sacrifice begin, he ran and hid. But here, when he sees Jesus’ glory, he wants to remain with Him forever.
The first lesson we can take from this passage is that it is much easier to embrace glory than sacrifice. It is much easier to choose that which gives consolation than that which results in fear and confusion. And though this is understandable from the perspective of fallen humanity, it is certainly something we must work to correct in our spiritual lives, just as Peter ultimately corrected in his life.
The Transfiguration was given to these disciples, in part, to help them down the road as the Father invited them to embrace a life of sacrifice. Eventually they would come face-to-face with their own crosses, and they would have to make a decision as to whether they would embrace those crosses out of love. Sacrifice means just that: embracing suffering out of love. One thing that helps one choose sacrificial love is a knowledge of what that sacrifice produces. That is what the Transfiguration provided. By seeing the transfigured glory of Jesus, Peter, James, and John were eventually able to deduce in their minds and hearts that the sacrifice that Jesus foretold would ultimately end in eternal glory.
Though you most likely have never had the experience of seeing the transfigured glory of Jesus with your own eyes, many have received spiritual consolations at various times in life. When this happens, we want them to remain. But they rarely do. Instead, God gives us just a glimpse of His glory so that we can hold on to that memory and use it when we need it the most. And those times will come when we listen to and obey the voice of the Father. “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”
Reflect, today, upon the fact that the Jesus Who is now in glory is that same Jesus Who walked the earth. He is the same Jesus Whose teachings are recorded in Scripture. The same Jesus Who suffered injustice. And the same Jesus Who rose victoriously. Our lives are filled with many experiences, as was true of Jesus. Therefore, the only way to unite every experience we have in life is to follow the command of the Father. “Listen to him.” Listen to the voice of the Savior. Follow Him up the mountain of consolation. Remain with Him through every suffering and cross. And listen to everything He teaches. If you do, one day you will, indeed, be invited to remain with Him in glory forever.
Transfigured Lord, along with Peter, I also desire to remain with You forever. Give me the grace I need to always remain with You, no matter where You lead. May I remain with You during every sacrifice I am asked to offer, every suffering I endure, and every consolation that blesses my soul. May I always listen to You and obey Your holy Word. Jesus, I trust in You.