The Sundays of Ordinary Time are replaced this weekend by the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. This gospel story is depicted in our church in a ceiling mural above the sanctuary, so if you haven’t noticed, look up this weekend!
A bit about this feast, from “Companion to the Calendar: Second Edition, A Guide to the Saints, Seasons, and Holidays of the Year””
“Today, the Church recalls the Transfiguration of the Lord, which is recorded in all three synoptic Gospels. In the East, this special feast was observed as long ago as the fifth century, though it took a little longer to become part of the Roman liturgical calendar and was not universally celebrated until 1457.
“Matthew, Mark, and Luke all recount the same sequence of events: Jesus tells his disciples about his coming Passion – how he must be put to death and rise again before entering his glory, and the disciples are scandalized. How could the long-awaited Messiah suffer rejection and death? A few days later, Jesus takes Peter, along with James and John, and goes up a mountain to pray. As he prays, his appearance changes. His face shines “like the sun,” and even his clothes are “dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them” (Mark 9,3). And suddenly Moses and Elijah are there with him, and the voice of God is heard. No wonder the disciples are stunned and frightened, and Peter blurts out, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here” (Mark 9,5). Peter wants to cling to this vision of Christ in his glory forever. But suddenly, the vision is over, and Jesus is there alone.
Jesus’ Transfiguration and his Passion are closely intertwined. Moses and Elijah speak to him of his “exodus,” his Passion, which is the sacrifice that fulfills all the precepts of the Law, the mystery foretold by the Prophets. Jesus gives his disciples this glimpse of his glory for a reason: so that when the Cross comes, they will not lose heart. When they come down from the mountain, Jesus warns the three not to tell anyone what they have seen, “until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead” (Mark 9.9). The Transfiguration and the Passion of Jesus are part of the same mystery: the only way to glory is through the Cross.
“They are the divine wonders we celebrate today,” says an ancient homily for this feast. “This is the festival of Christ that has drawn us here. Let us listen, then, to the sacred voice of God so compellingly calling us from on high, from the summit of the mountain, so that with the Lord’s chosen disciples we may penetrate the deep meaning of these holy mysteries, so far beyond our capacity to express.” (Saint Anastasius of Sinai).”
The month of August is filled with many great feasts of the Saints, including St. Dominic, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, St. Lawrence, St. Clare, St. Jane Frances de Chantal, St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Pius X, St. Rose of Lima, St. Bartholomew, St. Louis, St. Augustine, St. Monica, and St. John the Baptist. August is also the month of the Assumption of Mary, the greatest summer Marian feast, on August 15. The Assumption is a holy day of obligation, and Masses for the feast will be celebrated here on Tuesday, August 15, at 6:30am and 6:30pm.
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis’ intention for this month of August is for World Youth Day. We pray the World Youth Day in Lisbon will help young people to live and witness the Gospel in their own lives. We pray to the Lord!