St. Joseph Catholic Church - Toledo, OH

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February 24, 2013 - Transfiguration of Jesus

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Homily Preparation Notes - Luke 9:28-36

Saints Quotes

St. John Damascene: Christ "was transfigured, not by acquiring what he was not but by manifesting to his disciples what he in fact was; he opened their eyes and gave these blind man sight."

St. Serapion: The Virgin conceived, formed, and gave birth to this "body of the Word".

St. Gregory of Nyssa: Those who draw near to him touch his body, but "his flesh is divine"; those who look upon him see a mortal man like themselves, but his face is "the face of life".

St. John Damascene: Christ "was transfigured, not by acquiring what he was not but by manifesting to his disciples what he in fact was; he opened their eyes and gave these blind man sight."

St. Ambrose: "By his ascension Christ passed into his mysteries."

St. Ambrose: "Or else, according to your capacity is the word either lessened or increased to you, and unless you ascend the summit of a higher wisdom, you behold not what glory there is in the Word of God. Now the garments of the Word, are the discourses of the Scriptures, and certain clothings of the Divine mind; and as his raiment shone white, so in the eyes of your understanding, the sense of the divine words becomes clear. Hence after Moses, Elijah; that is, the Law and the Prophets in the Word. For neither can the Law exist without the Word, nor the Prophet, unless he prophesied of the Son of God."


-it looks like we are seeing a miracle in the Transfiguration, doesn't it? But, in fact, we are seeing the cessation of a miracle. (Quote, St. John Damascene)…

-line in the Nicene Creed that says “and became man”… the moment when divinity and humanity join… uncreated divinity, existing for all eternity, it gets joined to created humanity which begins at the moment of conception in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary… hypostatic union…

-because of the hypostatic union, the superior power of divinity, the effect of divinity on humanity is to divinize it, to glorify it… so the norm should be what we see in the Gospel today, with Jesus humanity and even his clothing whiter that any fuller could die them…

-St. Thomas Aquinas: the constant miracle withheld the glory of his divine nature, so that was not visible

-why withhold a miracle for a brief time in order to give them a glimpse of his divine glory?… to give these three men especially–the three would be closest to him in the agony of the garden–some knowledge of his power, before he was to go to Calvary… in each gospel with the Transfiguration appears, immediately afterwards Jesus begins to speak to them about his passion…

-which is exactly what Moses and Elijah speak to Jesus about… and it is called in the text “the Exodus” that he is to accomplish in Jerusalem…

-“Exodus” because he was to do something similar to, but greater than, what happened for the Israelites who crossed the Red Sea… there is was an exodus… a “going out” from Egypt, the place of slavery and drudgery and lack of human fulfillment… a going out into freedom…

-on Calvary Jesus was to head into to death, but this was not the end of the story… he broke through death, passing from life to life… from a life of suffering and temptation and sin to a life of freedom, glory, the experience of absolute heavenly love with the Father and the Holy Spirit…

-Jesus became a man, so that this exodus in his humanity could become the means for our own exodus, our own journey from life to life, from earth to heaven, from imperfection to perfection, from slavery to perfect freedom of love and glory in heaven…

-so the journey up Mt. Tabor, the Mount of Transfiguration, with Jesus is a foretaste of the glory to come on the other side of Calvary, a great preparation for Calvary, a great hope

-so the Eucharist we are about to celebrate is very connected to the Transfiguration… the mountain of this altar is very much like the mountain of Tabor… and although physical eyes don't suffice to see the radiance of divinity pouring through the humanity of Jesus, once the miracle of transubstantiation happens… the eyes of faith see it all… believers see the radiance in this host… believers know Jesus has called them quite individually to accompany him up to this altar, to find hope in the midst of our Egypt-like life experience… to receive all the required strength to conquer atop any Calvary that we encounter…



Iustus germinabit sicut lilium: et florebit in aeternum ante Dominum.
-- Gospel Acclamation, Solemnity of St. Joseph, March 19

Eucharistic Quotes

"The greatest love story of all times is contained in a tiny white Host."

--Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen



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