Some thoughts on the Transfiguration
When Jesus talks about the cross, the apostles tend to fall asleep. Luke says that about a week after speaking of His suffering, He took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray. They were “heavy with sleep.” (Lk 9: 31-32) Some translations of Luke read, “Peter and those with Him had fallen into a deep sleep.” In Luke 22: 45, when Jesus was suffering agony in the garden, the three apostles He took with Him to pray fell asleep, not once, but twice.
It appears that the apostles in Luke’s Gospel were using sleep as an escape of the unpleasantness of the cross that each of us is asked to pick up each day. Are we asleep, too? Unless we pick up that cross, we will not enjoy the Transfiguration and the glory of heaven.
Perhaps another Lenten practice would be to thank God for our small sharing in the cross each day; then being alert enough to recognize when it comes and embrace it passionately and gratefully.
The Kingdom of Heaven IV
The Kingdom of Heaven is ethical, ecclesial, and eschatological. We’ve already discussed how it is ethical and ecclesial. Ultimately, the “kingdom of heaven,” will have an eschatological fulfillment in the future. While it is present here through the Church; this is only a prelude to its full and final manifestation at the end of time.
We read in Matthew 16:28, the “coming” of the kingdom awaits the return of Christ in glory. the Church prays with hope for this to the Father (6:10) and makes preparation. (the Wise and the Foolish Virgins 25: 1-13) Finally, when at last Jesus appears, He will send the righteous and wicked their separate ways. And the righteio0us will be given the everlasting inheritance of the “kingdom of heaven.” (25: 31-46)
Salt and Light (Mt. 5: 13-14)
The two illustrations of salt and light show that the disciples must be true to their calling if they are to remain useful to the kingdom.
salt of the earth: we are to season and preserve the world with peace (Mk 9: 50) and gracious speech. (Col 4:5)
“Salt is good; but if the salt has lost is saltiness, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another. (Mk 9: 50)
“Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer every one.” (Col 4: 5)
light of the world: we are to bear witness to Jesus and His message. (Jn 1: 9; 8:12)
“Again, Jesus spoke to them saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (Jn 8: 12)
a city set on a hill: this refers to Jerusalem on Mt. Zion and is a visible sign of the eternal city that awaits the saints in heaven. (Gal 4: 26; Heb 12: 22; Rev 21: 2)
“And I saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Rev 21: 2)
your Father: In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls God “Father” a total of 17 times. God’s Fatherhood is the deepest mystery of His identity. (Jn 1:1; 1:12; Gal 4: 4-7)
Next time: Matthew 5: 17-20 The Fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets.
Study Question: Read Galatians 4: 4-7. These verses speak of the Divine Mission of the Son and the Spirit. What is this mission?
Meditation: How can I be salt and light to others during Lent?