If you are looking at a particular sermon and it is removed it is because it has been updated.

For example Year C 2010 is being replaced week by week with Year C 2013, and so on.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

4th Sunday of Lent Year A 2014

 4th. Sunday of Lent (A)

(1 Samuel 16:1, 6-7, 10-13; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41)

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, our Gospel reading today tells of a prophetic miracle performed by Our Lord warning the Jewish establishment that their tenancy of God’s vineyard was in danger of being revoked and transferred to others; that God was determined to have fruit from His planting even though it meant the creation of a new People of God.
In the first reading you heard how the Lord made a surprising choice when He set about replacing Saul as King in Israel and shepherd of God’s People.  He chose no imposing figure such as Saul himself, who had been a man of outstanding physique; instead He told Samuel to anoint a mere boy, the youngest in his family, with no public standing or experience, and thought to be fit only to look after his father’s sheep. 

In the same vein, in our second reading St. Paul told the Ephesians:

You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.

Paul’s converts at Ephesus were mainly Gentiles, and we too are of Gentile origin.  As such we are the very ones Jesus was foreshadowing as God’s surprising choice to become members of the new People of God, when, in our Gospel episode, His attention was drawn to a man born blind:

As Jesus passed by, He saw a man blind from birth and His disciples asked Him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?
Now, there was nothing very unusual about a blind beggar in Jesus’ time, so why should this one have drawn particular notice?  The disciples had apparently been talking among themselves about the man; and it would seem that at least one of them knew him, because they were discussing the fact that the man had been born blind and they were expressing opinions as to why that should be.  Being unable to reach a satisfactory conclusion they turned to Jesus and said:

Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?

Jesus was always alert for and responsive to the least indication that His Father was at work,

Though I sit in (am surrounded by) darkness, the Lord is my Light (Micah 7:8); 

and here He immediately recognized that His Father was behind both the blind man’s presence and the disciples’ animated discussion among themselves and questioning of Himself.  He answered them:

Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.

Notice that answer, People of God: Jesus tells his disciples, ‘Whether this man or his parents sinned is not the point, this has happened in order that I should, in and through this man, do the work, and make known the will, of My Father.’

            Though surrounded by darkness, the Lord is my Light 

Jesus then spat on the dusty ground and made a paste.  Such application and use of spittle on the Sabbath was forbidden by the Law … all the better, indeed, for Jesus’ purposes because that made His Jewish adversaries take note (such a simple but supremely wise awareness and use of human psychology!) … for, having been alerted by that legal fault, some of them would then have slowly  gone on to recognize that something of supreme significance for the Jewish leaders and people was taking place before their eyes:  God’s original act of creation was being mirrored here (!!) according to Genesis 2:7: 

The Lord God formed the man out of the dust of the ground.

Now, nothing is ‘formed’ out of dust that is dry!!

In our Gospel passage, Jesus -- the Word of God through Whom all things were made -- being about to renew a man’s life, symbolically foreshadows the creation of a new People of God from those Gentiles spiritually blind from birth:

He answered, ‘While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’   When He had said this, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes.  

Having utilized dust of the earth and His own saliva to coat the eyes of the man born blind, only the bringing of those eyes to life was needed for the symbolic re-creation; and in order to do that, Jesus performed another such action -- like Elisha of old with Naaman the Syrian -- by sending the man off with the words:

"Go wash in the Pool of Siloam" (which means Sent).  So he went and washed, and came back able to see. 

Now, recall that, at the last Supper Jesus would say to the Apostles:

            You are clean because of the word I have spoken to you. (John.15:3)

Here, the blind man heard the words Jesus had spoken to him and, having obediently washed his eyes in the Pool of Siloam, he was able to see again; moreover, on seeing again he would ultimately come to believe in and confess Jesus as His Saviour.  All this symbolized the new People of God to come, who, being washed in the waters of baptism and confessing their faith in Jesus, would thereby receive the Gift of God, the Holy Spirit, the breath of divine Life:

Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. (John 3:5)

The Pharisees and Temple authorities, of course, heard of this event, indeed Jesus intended they should; some no doubt saw what He did, or were told of it by friends, because He wanted those who were celebrated because of their supposedly superior spiritual awareness to learn from an occurrence where not only the man and the miracle, but also the time and the place, were all of His Father’s choosing:

It was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes;
and Jesus, as Lord of the Sabbath, was at hand to bring about the fulfilment of the Sabbath. 
However, their party’s interpretation of the Law held the majority of these Pharisees firmly bound to fixed and unbending legal trivialities:

Some of the Pharisees said, "This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath." Others said, "How can a sinful man do such signs?" And there was a division among them.

And so, blind in their opposition to Jesus and after much arguing and discussion, they rejected the man whom Jesus had healed:

They said to the blind man, "What did He do to you?  How did He open your eyes?"  He answered them, "I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become His disciples too?" They ridiculed him and said, "You are that Man’s disciple; we are disciples of Moses!  We know that God spoke to Moses; but we do not know where this One is from."  The man answered and said to them, “If this Man were not from God, He would not be able to do anything."  They answered and said to him, "You were born totally in sin, and are you trying to teach us?" Then they threw him out. 

Being thrown out of the synagogue was extreme punishment; as St. Paul, having himself been cut off from all that he had held dear in the past, explained:

I consider everything as a loss for the supreme good of knowing Christ  Jesus my Lord.   For His sake I have accepted the loss of all things, and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ.  (Philippians 3:8)

This was as Jesus Himself had once foretold:

If anyone comes to Me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. (Luke 14:26)

The man whose eyes had been dead and were now open and alive had been rejected because of Jesus, and so Jesus sought him out in his isolation.  The actions Jesus had performed on the man had, as I said, prefigured God’s creation of a new People of God, and now the man himself was ready to have his whole being -- not just his eyes -- made alive; and so we read:

When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, He found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”  He answered and said, “Who is He, sir, that I may believe in Him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen Him and the One speaking with you is He.”   He said, “I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped Him.  Then Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.” 

People of God, wonder at the sublime wisdom of our God; admire Jesus the perfect and beloved Son, so eager and ready to recognize, follow, and fulfil His Father’s will!  And try to appreciate ever more deeply that fact that Jesus our Lord and Saviour has sought out each one of us and joined us to Himself by giving the light of faith to eyes perhaps previously blinded by ignorance and the glittering allurements of the world, and by infusing living and loving hope into souls previously weighed down by cares and sin!  But I would have you also recognize the warning with which our reading from St. Paul closed:

You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.  Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.   Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them, for it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret.

We know of such shameful deeds going on all around us and we know that we must take care to have no part in them.  However, we should realize that such avoidance of sin in no way exceeds the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, which is the minimum required by Jesus of His disciples.  Israel and Judah had been sent into exile in the past because the people -- as a whole -- had ‘given up’ on the God of their fathers … by indifference and ignorance allowing themselves to do what came naturally, following the example of the surrounding nations.  Today, the same is happening in Mother Church with so many nominal Catholics slackening the reins of their obedience and commitment, doing what unbelievers do, while trying to comfort and convince themselves by words such as: ‘it doesn’t seem to matter; does God see?’

On their return from the Babylonian exile back to the Land of Judah certain of those Jewish erstwhile deportees had resolved to serve God and His covenant more faithfully, with the result that their descendants -- the Pharisees and Scribes -- were very devout and deeply committed.  However, over time their very religiosity became a stumbling block: they came to love themselves more than God by trusting in their own meticulous observances rather than hoping in His merciful goodness.

People of God, we have, in the Church today, modern versions of such failings: from scholars this time, not Scribes, from enthusiasts not Pharisees; but all, showing – in their lack of humility before God and the Church – the same failings as their Old Testament forerunners.  However, were it not for the fact that there are today -- as in Old Testament times -- far too many indifferent and unconcerned members of the People of God, the vanity of some relatively few scholars and the blatant excesses of emotional enthusiasts would have very limited effect on Mother Church as a whole.   In the present situation of Mother Church, therefore, we should appreciate that the faith and faithfulness of each and every individual is of the utmost importance.  Before God, we matter; each of us individually, for we have been personally drawn to Jesus by the Father, and each one of us is offered, in Jesus, a personal relationship with the Father by the Spirit.  That awareness should give us a renewed confidence in the goodness of our God and guide, and also a deeper sense of individual pride in, and personal concern for, the good name and well-being of Mother Church.  And that, dear People of God, is what St. Paul had in mind when he told his Ephesian community:

Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.   
 Watch carefully then how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil.   Therefore, do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord; you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

3rd Sunday of Lent Year A 2014

3rd. Sunday of Lent (A)

(Exodus 17:3-7; Romans 5:1-2, 5-8; John 4:5-42)

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we have readings which Mother Church has chosen from various books of the Bible, each of which manifests the wonderful wisdom of our God.  We can also learn something of the wisdom of Mother Church herself, shown in her choice of these readings -- made under the guidance of the Holy Spirit so uniquely bequeathed to her -- whereby she is able to say to us her children: “read there, feed there, and you will find light for your faith and food for your soul.”

The children of Israel set out on their journey from the Wilderness of Sin, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped in Rephidim.  However, since there was no water for the people to drink:

The people complained against Moses, and said, "Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?"  So Moses cried out to the Lord, saying, "What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me!"  And the Lord said to Moses, "Go on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go.  Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it that the people may drink." And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. 

The people of Israel were being set free from the slavery they had long endured in Egypt.  It had been a degrading experience, replete with humiliations: forced labour and frequent beatings, constant supervision, and, above all, the deliberate and systematic slaughter of their new-born male children.  And yet, here in the desert -- suffering from shortage of food and water -- they seem able to recall but one aspect of that horrendous time in Egypt (Exodus 16:3):

When we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! 

Yes, some of them were looking back with longing for the pleasures of Egypt, indulging the thought of becoming slaves again if only they could have a regular meal!   They were beginning to fancy they might endure the sufferings, put up with the countless personal indignities, and overlook their loss of freedom, if only they could once again enjoy the Egyptian slops!  They had indeed become a slave people, and were finding it hard to endure being weaned from their slavery by the Lord their God!

Here, surely, we can recognize our own world of today; for although it is true that in our society we do not, generally speaking, find people enslaved to others who are their owners, nevertheless, we do have so many people who find it most difficult to overcome their own personal addictions.  Everywhere and at all levels of society there are many who devote their lives to an all-consuming search and hunger for sex, drugs, alcohol, and pleasures of all types – even those most outlandish and outrageous.  For such people, despite the fact that their pleasures could well condemn them to an early and degrading death, their addiction so enslaves them that they are hardly able to even imagine or want freedom again, let alone endure the necessary processes of detoxification and rehabilitation.

Although such enslavement is a dreadful and extreme form of addiction for only a minority of people, nevertheless, most of us have our pet indulgences, weak points and selfish tendencies, which, though they do not -- we like to think -- prevent us from doing God’s ‘basic’ will, nevertheless, make it much more difficult for us to do that of which we fully approve, or to decisively reject what we recognize as not good enough or even wrong.  Therefore, the Sacred Scriptures, even at the most ancient level, are still relevant and pertinent for us who, today, are being invited and encouraged by God to make our own desert journey from earthly servitude, our own personal pilgrimage -- under His guidance and power -- to the glorious freedom of the children of God planned for each of us. 
The Lord said to Moses:

Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it that the people may drink." And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. 

That water would refresh the people, enabling those who were courageous and resolute enough to continue on their way towards freedom in the Promised Land.

St. Paul, speaking later of that episode from the history of Israel, tells us that Christ was for them -- as He still is for us -- that Rock:

They drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. (1 Corinthians 10:4)

The Israelites had been told, by the word of God, to turn in faith to the rock on Mount Horeb that would be struck by Moses at God’s command, just as we -- through faith in the Word of God made flesh – are called upon to look to Jesus our Rock, stricken on Mount Calvary by order of one to whom Jesus had said:

You could have no authority at all against Me unless it had been given you from above.  (John 19:11)

Saint Paul also tells us, elsewhere, of the Promised Land which is the goal of our Christian pilgrimage through this world: we are in the process of being led to a heavenly and eternal home, and being formed as integral parts of that holy temple of which Christ is already the corner stone:

On the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself (is) the chief cornerstone in Whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in Whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.             (Ephesians 2:20-3:1)

Of old, “Strike the Rock” had been the command given to Moses, whereupon water had poured forth for the hosts of Israel thirsting in the desert.  Jesus, our Rock, was pierced by a lance as He hung from the Cross on Mount Calvary, and from that open wound flowed blood and water, symbolizing the Spirit and the sacraments; and when Jesus was on the point of death He bowed His head and breathed forth the reality of His Spirit as His last and greatest Gift to the Church gathered round His Cross.  The Holy Spirit has rightly been called the Gift of God from the beginning of the Church, a Gift of Whose beauty we heard in our second reading:

The love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.

People of God, we cannot walk through the desert of this world’s sin relying on our own will power: constantly shutting our eyes, ears, and mouths, in the attitude of “Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil”.  Some might consider that a laudable endeavour but it would be a supremely foolish one, because it is totally negative and doomed to failure.  In order to live as children of God we must open ourselves up to God’s love shown us and offered to us in the Person of Jesus; in other words, we have to turn to the Rock Who has been struck for us, to Jesus our Saviour, and receive from Him the gift of His Holy Spirit; for it was by the Spirit Who had originally led Him into the desert to confront and confound Satan, that Jesus was later able to look on His whole life’s experience and say with such sublime love of God to the Samaritan woman of our Gospel story and to us:

My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.  

People of God, only that same Holy Spirit -- the Gift of God, and Jesus’ own Bequest breathed upon His Church from the Cross -- can enable us to do the will of the Father Who calls us, in Jesus, to Himself.
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus, seated by the well of Jacob at Sychar, had asked a Samaritan woman – who regularly came there to draw water -- for a drink.  She expressed surprise at such a request because she saw that Jesus was a Jew, and Jews would not normally use a Samaritan’s bucket to draw water.  As you heard, Jesus said to her:

If you knew the gift of God, and Who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.

The woman was yet more puzzled: how could this man give her living water?  You must realise that “living” usually means water from a flowing source, and there was only one such source in the neighbourhood, this very well, given to her people by Jacob centuries ago, in the very place where Jesus was now seated talking to her.  So she answered:

Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 

At the back of her mind was the thought, “Surely he doesn’t think he can show us another well here?“  And so she went on to add:

Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?" 

Jesus always lived in the presence of His Father and He always looked with compassion on humanity enslaved by sin and burdened by suffering, it was, indeed, such compassion which motivated His Incarnation.  And occasionally, as when He met the widow of Nain following the coffin of her only son for his burial, or again, when He wept over Jerusalem, we can glimpse something of the intensity of the divine compassion in His most Sacred Heart.  He had come as a Jew, and here, in our Gospel story, He meets a Samaritan, a non-Jew; in fact one can say that here He meets, in the figure of this woman, all of us who are of Gentile origin.  He is filled with compassion, knowing how sinful mankind strives endlessly and unsuccessfully to find happiness and satisfy their needs, just as this woman had already gone through repeated marriages and other unions in her search for happiness, and as she was forced -- in order to satisfy her needs -- to come repeatedly, day after day, week-in week-out, to this well, before returning to the village with the same heavy load and no prospect of ever being free from such burdensome labour.  It so forcefully brought to Jesus’ mind and heart our blind and enduring servitude to sin that, that, being filled with compassion, He declared:

Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst: the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. 

St. John makes perfectly clear what Jesus had in mind here when he tells us that:

On the last day, that great day of the feast (of Booths, in Jerusalem), Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."  This He spoke concerning the Spirit Whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.  (7:37-39)

People of God, our Faith, the practice of our religion, is not meant to be a great burden such as some of the Israelites considered their rescue from slavery to be in the desert; not so barren and empty as the Samaritan woman’s search for happiness through repeated marriages and unions, nor as wearisome as her endless journeying to the well in order to satisfy a need that constantly raised its head again.  Jesus has called us to Himself and He says:

Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."  (Matthew 11:28-30)

Israel was refreshed in the desert by water that flowed from the stricken rock.  We too should turn to Jesus -- stricken for us -- and beseech His and the Father’s Gift of the Holy Spirit of Love, bestowed on us and bequeathed to us above all when we receive the Eucharist, where Jesus is most intensely living and present to breath afresh into us the Comforter, our Advocate.  Then, let us beg the Holy Spirit, thus freely given, to rule in our lives: asking Him to form us -- in Jesus -- for the Father; for, if we will allow Him to do that in our lives, He will make every former burden, light; every former task a joy; and turn every faint spark of vague hope into glowing coals of confidence and ardent flames of conviction and love.


Friday, 14 March 2014

Second Sunday of Lent Year A 2014

2nd. Sunday of Lent


(Genesis 12:1-4; 2 Timothy 1:8-10; Matthew 17:1-9)

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, just think how God has cherished each and every one of us here, for:  

(He) called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.

Think also how carefully and for how long He has prepared the way for our coming to Christ: how many of God’s servants, the patriarchs and prophets, have served God’s purposes -- at times with their very lives -- for our blessing!

Above all, try to appreciate how incredibly He looks after us in our lives -- short and apparently insignificant though they be -- by the sacrifice of His own Son, Who, as Saint Paul tells us in the second reading:

Has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel!

On earth it all began with ‘our father in faith’, Abraham some 4000 years ago: 

Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you.

The development and progress of that blessing promised to Abraham was, however, encumbered and hindered by ever-present sin and selfishness,  until it even came to be resisted by the official representatives of the People of God, by traditional Israel and the authorities of the Temple of which God had declared (1 Kings 9:3) to the young King Solomon:

I have heard the prayer of petition which you offered in My presence. I have consecrated this temple which you have built; I confer My name upon it forever, and My eyes and My heart shall be there always. 

These authorities, consecrated and learned in the Law, increasingly tried to put their own – discordant – plans and purposes for glory, power, and influence, before the holy will and the great goodness of God, to such an extent that Jesus Himself was able to say of them: 

Therefore, the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles; some of them they will kill and persecute’ in order that this generation might be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world.  (Luke 11:49-50)

With such a background over the ages the current situation was disturbingly unclear to Jesus’ disciples, and was even, perhaps, becoming somewhat alarming: with ‘official’ or ‘important’ figures never far away, apparently always watching and listening even though they did not always choose to voice their opposition and threat.  And quite recently Jesus had spoken openly of His own looming death and had even gone so far as to issue a solemn warning to all who would become His disciples:

Whoever wishes to come after Me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.   For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and that of the gospel will save it.  

It was, therefore, disturbing for Peter, James, and John on the Mount of Transfiguration when, on awakening, they saw Moses, whom Jesus said ‘wrote about Him’ and Elijah, the champion of the Israel’s God and sworn enemy of all false prophets, about to leave Jesus.  Peter immediately offered to build three tabernacles hoping that they might remain with Jesus; but, precisely at that moment, the Father gave them the clearest possible admonition and the strongest encouragement to cling supremely and most confidently to Jesus in all His trials:

While (Peter) was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.  Listen to Him!” (Matthew 17:5)

This was a moment of supreme significance for the future Church, defining her essential ‘character’ in relationship with God’s Purpose and People.   Moses and Elijah, the Law and the Prophets, could give no more help to Jesus; they had prepared the way for His coming, as Jesus (Luke 24:27) was gratefully aware:

Beginning with Moses and all the prophets He interpreted to them all that referred to Him(self) in all the Scriptures;

but now, Jesus alone, and only He, could carry on to its final dénouement and fulfilment, God’s work for the salvation of mankind, of Israel and the Nations, of all Jews, Greeks and Pagans:

            This is my Son, Whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.   Listen to Him!
God the Father spoke thus to the three favoured disciples, but through them He addresses all Christians saying, ‘Listen to Him! He has come to do the work for which I sent Him: to complete My plan that you become My children in Him.’

“Listen to Him”: those are very significant words.  Some 1300 years before, Moses had spoken in the name of God to the People of Israel saying:

The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. (Deuteronomy 18:15)

Moreover, the promised one was not to be just another prophet, even though it be one like the great Moses, because His words would be the very words of God Himself, and those who would refuse to listen to His words would have to answer for that to God Himself:

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put My words in His mouth, and He will tell them everything I command Him.       If anyone does not listen to My words that the prophet speaks in My name, I myself will call him to account.”   (Deuteronomy. 18:18-19)

When Moses had been speaking with God on Mount Sinai we are told that, unknown to him, his face had become radiant and all, including even his brother Aaron, were afraid to approach him.  Here however, when the disciples Peter, James, and John, were with Jesus on the mountain, we read that: 

(Jesus) was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. (Matthew 17:2)

But, whereas the Israelites were afraid to approach Moses because his face was shining,
 Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.”

Moreover, we -- the true Israel -- are earnestly exhorted to fix our eyes upon the transfigured and glorified face of Jesus, by St. Paul who tells us:

God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)

Jesus was totally transfigured: “was transfigured” is the Hebrew way of saying: “God glorified Him”.  The Hebrew tradition did not allow the naming of God and so the words were phrased in the passive voice:  “Jesus was transfigured” leaving “by God, by Jahwe” unspoken but understood.  In that transfiguration the glory of Jesus’ divinity enveloped His whole -- perfectly human -- body.  This should, indeed, have been the normal state of Jesus’ humanity; however, for our sake He set aside this glory and allowed Himself to be seen as an ordinary man, as Paul tells us:

Being in very nature God, (Jesus) did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.   And being found in appearance as (an ordinary) man, He humbled himself (yet further) and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!  (Philippians 2:6-8)

Today, however, in our Sunday worship, we are thinking of and wondering at Jesus in glory -- now the true and eternal Jesus; and we are filled with awe and gratitude as we realise that because human flesh does, in Jesus, bear the glory of the omnipotent and all-holy God, sinners such as ourselves can cherish the hope of being filled with the glory that He has promised to share with all who turn from their sins and become His disciples.

Last Sunday we heard of Jesus being taken to the top of a very high mountain and being shown and offered the glory of the whole world if only He would bow down and worship Satan.  There Satan promised a false and fleeting glory.

Today, we glimpse something of Jesus in the true and eternal glory of God:

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 

There, Jesus went Himself up into the presence of the Father on the mountain: He was not led there, He came, as the beloved Son before His Father, as of right; and notice -- with delight, surely -- that He was leading His disciples into the Father’s presence as He will lead us too at the end of days.

People of God, this vision is a God-given consolation for Christians to the end of time, because the words of Jesus echo down the ages in Mother Church.  We can indeed “listen to Him” because He Himself said to His Apostles:

When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth.  He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.  He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.”  (John 16:13-14)

By the Holy Spirit -- Jesus’ parting Gift to us -- His truth is and always will be known to Mother Church, and that truth is to be made known far and wide to all those wanting and waiting to hear and to obey Jesus’ words of life proclaimed by the teaching of the Apostles throughout the ages:

He who listens to you listens to Me; he who rejects you rejects Me; but he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me. (Luke 10:16)

Those who listen to the Son speaking through His Church in the world of today are being drawn towards that final gathering of God’s chosen People of which we find a prophecy in the second book of Maccabees which says:

When God gathers His people and shows His mercy, then the glory of the Lord and the cloud will appear, as they were shown in the case of Moses and of Solomon… (2 Maccabees 2:7-8).

That process is ongoing even now among us here today, and we can complete and extend it to its full and proper dimensions, When God gathers His people and shows His mercy, then the glory of the Lord will be seen as shown in the case of Moses and of Solomon, and as seen on the face of Jesus, and heard from the cloud, on the Mount of Transfiguration.   For, with the three disciples we too hear the voice of Jesus and we are urged by Mother Church to obey the voice of the Father and “listen to Jesus”.  Mother Church in the power of the Spirit given to her by her Lord teaches us how to obey Jesus, and the Spirit Himself will inspire us how to love Him; and Mother Church exhorts us to have total confidence in Him Who alone can, and will, share with us His glory and lead us and all His disciples into the very presence of the heavenly Father, to be welcomed by Him as His children, beloved in the Only Beloved.