February Homilies

For Sunday Liturgies and Feasts
Homilies for February 2013

The Transfiguration of Our Lord

That Christ may reign.
4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings:
  Jer 1:4-5, 17-19; Ps 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15-17; 1 Cor 12:31—13:13, or 13:4-13; Lk 4:21-30
http://usccb.org/bible/readings/020313.cfm

After the people of Nazareth listened to Jesus read from the Torah scroll, they heard Our Lord preach what was probably one of the shortest homilies in Christian history: “This day is fulfilled this scripture in your ears” (Luke 4:21).  At first, the people were full of wonder as they gazed at Joseph and Mary’s son.  With pride and pleasure, they listened to the eloquent words of their own Jesus of Nazareth.

As soon as they realized Jesus was calling them to upgrade their moral standard—welcoming the poor, the blind and freeing prisoners and the oppressed—the fickle crowd quickly became ambivalent.  “Is not this the son of Joseph?”  Ambivalence turned to anger as the people, now formed as a mob, brought Jesus to Mount Precipice (Mount Kedumim), the mountain just outside of Nazareth, where they attempted to throw Jesus off the cliff (Luke 4:28-29).

Following a pious tradition that Our Lady was nearby watching and praying, the Franciscans would later build a church there to commemorate her intercession for her Son.  The church is named the Church of Our Lady of the Fright (Notre Dame de l’Effroi).  Indeed, it must have frightened Mary, who prayed as the mob tried to hurl Christ over the cliff.  Mary’s prayers were answered, and Christ passed through the crowd miraculously untouched (Luke 4:30).

The citizens of Nazareth wanted to kill Christ because He exposed their lack of charity—a love that had become stagnant, chocked by religious pride.  They were not looking for a messiah and savior to call them to conversion.  Perhaps, they wanted a military messiah who would free them from foreign military occupation, who would restore Israel’s prominence, defeating her enemies.  Or shall we consider another possibility?  Maybe they did not want a messiah at all—they just wanted to maintain the status quo, being satisfied with their mediocrity and lukewarmness.

Calling to mind stories from the prophets Elijah and Elisha, Our Lord reiterated how, in the days of the prophets, Israel drifted away from God to idolatry and moral corruption.  The congregation in Nazareth did not miss his point.  Christ was exhorting the people of the Nazareth synagogue to undergo a serious spiritual reform.  They were most offended.

First of all, they were offended because the stories revealed how God bestows mercy upon the humble of heart—that no one can demand his grace, even though he is of the chosen people of Israel.  An arrogant man will seem to accuse God of being selfish with the distribution of grace, as if man has a right to it.  But as Scripture teaches, “He hath mercy on whom he will…” (Romans 9:18).

The crowd was further offended when Christ applied to them the truth that God would rather give his blessings to pagans who showed God humble obedience, such as the widow in Sidon, and Naaman the Syrian, than to His ungrateful “chosen” ones.  Romans 11:17-22 reminds us that God’s mercy is available to only one kind of person—sinners who are humble and contrite.  “See then the goodness and the severity of God: towards them, indeed, that are fallen, the severity; but towards thee, the goodness of God…” (Romans 11:22).

We, too, can be tempted to approach God the way the people of Nazareth did—in a superficial way.  It is easy to welcome the Lord into our lives on our own terms.  But, when God gives us a reality check by a Gospel that exposes our pride and our self-righteousness, then our imperfections and our sins are exposed to the Light of Christ and we are challenged.  Christ did not call us to a casual or lackadaisical approach to our faith.  He calls us to be zealous in our love of God, to have a generous and merciful heart for our neighbor and to strive for the spiritual heights: “Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

If we are foolish, we will resist the Lord.  Like the people of the synagogue of Nazareth, we will be tempted to throw Christ from the cliff, and set up a comfortable moral standard—one which we design to fit our personal preferences.  This is common today as society re-defines every moral standard, in blatant disregard to the natural law, and Divine revealed law.  Because our hearts and minds crave the truth, and will be satisfied by nothing less, we must honestly realize that we will only find happiness in accepting Christ’s way.  And if we walk in the Lord’s “way of the perfect” (Psalm 101:2), we will find unchanging truth and eternal life (John 14:6).

To strive for spiritual perfection entails living a virtuous Christian life, wrestling with the world, the flesh, and the devil.  Our first parents, Adam and Eve, were the first to tangle with this wicked trinity of temptations.  Genesis recalls the scene: “The woman saw that the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eyes, and the tree was desirable for gaining wisdom” (Genesis 3:6).  Eve encountered the lust of the flesh, the inordinate desire for pleasure, when she saw the “tree was good for food.”  When she realized the food was “pleasing to the eyes,” she confronted the lust of the eyes, undue attachment to worldly things.   And when Eve beheld that “the tree was desirable for gaining wisdom,” she came face to face with the immoderate desire for power, the pride of life, which tempted her.  Once Eve was deceived, Adam disobeyed, and sin entered the world.

Contending against the greed for possessions, illicit pleasures, and thirst for power, St. John of the Cross observed: “The world is the enemy least difficult to conquer; the devil is the hardest to understand; but the flesh is the most tenacious, and its attacks continue as long as the old self lasts” (Precautions, for the Nuns of El Calvario).  Christians, therefore, must live the spirit of poverty, chastity, and obedience, according to one’s state in life, to overcome the “the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life,” (1 John 2:16).  Fidelity to a life of prayer will be indispensable in the battle for spiritual perfection, for the temptation to sin is always present: “Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

In this battle which rages in the human heart, we must either enthrone Christ as King or accept the chaotic reign of Satan.  As we try to keep the peace of Christ in our heart, our concupiscence (moral weakness) will tempt us to embrace what is false, evil, and ugly.  The prudent disciple, subduing his emotions by God’s grace, will resist by turning to what is true, good, and beautiful (Romans 7:18-25).  Thus, we take comfort in the words of St. Paul: “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20).  As Mary prayed for Christ to escape the violence of the mob, may Our Lady obtain for us the grace to subdue the “the old man with his deeds” (Colossians 3:9), so that Christ might reign supreme over every corner of our lives.  Amen.

We are the little fishes of Christ.
5th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Is 6:1-2a, 3-8; Ps 138:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 7-8; 1 Cor 15:1-11 or 15:3-8, 11; Lk 5:1-11
http://usccb.org/bible/readings/021013.cfm

In the ancient world, the symbol of the ship was oftentimes carved in burial chambers to signify the soul’s journey into the afterlife.  This can be seen in the tomb of Nevoleia Tyche, a wealthy woman of Pompeii, who erected for herself an extravagant tomb on the Via dei Sepolcri (Via delle Tombe) in Pompeii, the prominent street leading from the Pompeii to Herculaneum.

The Roman catacombs, containing Christian art going back to second century, display an abundant display of boat and fish graphics.  In Scripture, the boat image was significant for both Jews and Christians.  In the Old Testament, we recall that after Moses was discovered floating in the Nile River in a boat-like basket, he was adopted by the daughter of the Pharoh (Exodus 2:10); and,  Noah’s family was saved from the great flood by building an ark (Genesis 6-9).  In the New Testament, Christ makes St. Peter’s boat the pulpit from where he teaches the saving words of the Gospel (Luke 5:1-11).

Because the boat has become a symbol of the Church bringing the faithful to safe harbor of salvation, the architectural shape of our Christian churches has developed under the wave of nautical terminology.  Thus, the faithful attend the Sacred Liturgy from the part of the church building called the “nave,” a word coming from the Latin word for a ship, navis.  In the architectural designs of Roman basilicas, we can further see the image of the ship with respect to the placement of the Bishop’s cathedra (“seat”).  Thus, the Bishop’s throne was typically placed in the apse behind the altar and baldachin, placing the bishop in the place to pilot the ship.

As we examine today’s Gospel lesson, we notice that the apostles of Christ’s Ecclesia (“Church”) are standing in two boats, indicating that the Catholic Church breathes with two lungs, East and West (John Paul II, Lumen Orientalis).  St. Luke tells us that Christ comes aboard Peter’s boat.  Christ had made Peter the chief of the Apostles, so, perhaps, by standing on the “little ship of St. Peter” (La navicella di San Pietro), Our Lord is emphasizing the Petrine primacy.  Indeed, Peter and his successors are entrusted with the keys of the kingdom (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 553).  Thus, St. Cyprian of Carthage taught: “On him {Peter} He builds the Church, and to him He gives the command to feed the sheep; and although He assigns a like power to all the Apostles, yet He founded a single chair, and He established by His own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity” (The Unity of the Catholic Church, 4).

In the images of Peter’s boat from the Roman catacombs, we generally find a “T” shaped beam that indicates the Cross.  It is firmly planted in the middle of the boat—in the middle of the Church—for the Cross secures all graces and makes the sacraments efficacious (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1127).  It is from the Cross that Christ’s power flows down into the waters, sanctifying the waters for the baptism of the little fish.

Looking at typical depictions of Peter’s barque in the catacombs of Rome, we often see the symbol of the fish accompanying the boat.  The fish ranks as the most popular symbol of early Christians, and it is still popular today.  St. Clement of Alexandria (b. 150) even advises Christians to have their tombs engraved with the image of a fish (Paedagogus, III, xi).  It is not surprising then, that the early Christians made an acrostic from the Greek word for “fish,” Ichthys, replacing each letter with a word: Iesous Christos Theos, Yios Soter (“Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior”).

Along with the fish symbol which decorated the primitive graphics of Peter’s boat in the catacombs, one frequently finds short inscriptions.  One popular phrase used in the catacombs comes from Tertullian (b. 160), one the Fathers of the Church: “We are the little fishes of Christ!” (On Baptism, 1).  This charming phrase of Tertullian reminds us that if Christians are the “little fishes” of Christ, then Christ is the big Fish.  In the theology of St. Paul, Christ is the Head of his own Mystical Body; we are “members in particular” (1 Corinthians 12:27).

These depictions of Peter’s boat in the catacombs have taught us a profound but simple lesson about the nature of the Church.  The lesson is this—Christ the Lord speaks to Peter, and then Peter speaks to the Church.  Consequently, if we close our ears to Peter—if we close our ears to the teaching of the Pope—we no longer hear the words of Christ.  St. Cyprian of Carthage put it in the strongest terms: “If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith?  If he deserts the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?”  (The Unity of the Catholic Church, 4).  Thus, if we plug up our ears when the Pope speaks, we are deaf to the teaching of Christ our Savior.  If we refuse to be in communion with Peter, by committing, with full knowledge and complete consent, an act of heresy or schism, we have wiggled our way out of Peter’s net.  And where do we fall if not into the waters of division.  We plunge to our soul’s great peril!

It was to Peter alone that Christ said, “duc in altum” (i.e., “put out into the deep” – Luke 5:4), and then Peter, in simple obedience to Christ, signaled to the others to lower the nets.  The others were obedient to Peter.  The result of this double obedience is overwhelming—they get such a catch that the boats struggle to stay afloat.  Let us today resolve to pray for the unity of Christians, and for the conversion of non-Christians around the Chair of St. Peter.  Just imagine if all Christians were in full communion with the Chair of St. Peter, what would the catch of fish be?  Look around the boat, little fish; there is plenty of room.

Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.
Ash Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Jl 2:12-18; Ps 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 12-13, 14 and 17; 2 Cor 5:20—6:2; Mt 6:1-6, 16-18
http://usccb.org/bible/readings/021313.cfm

“Ring around the rosy, a pocket full of posies. Ashes! Ashes! We all fall down.”  We sing rhymes like this as young children, but we do not usually contemplate the meaning of the words.  It may be a surprise to realize that this famous rhyme came out of Europe’s Black Plague.  Because it was thought that that the Black Plague was airborne, the common wisdom was to place flowers up close to one’s mouth to perfume and filter the air which had become tinged by the smell of death.  During the Black Plague, doctors typically placed roses and other flowers in their pockets, and used this as “aroma therapy” to ward off contagion.  As we revisit this little rhyme, we should take note of the horrific symptoms of the Black Plague.  Thus the phrase, “Ring around the rosy,” referred to a plague symptom—the victim’s face would turn pale, while his cheeks would become dark and rosy.  And the phrase, “Ashes! Ashes! We all fall down,” is related to the black pallor that the patient’s skin had in his last days and to the cremation of plague victims.

Just as we are conversant with this children’s rhyme, we have often heard at funerals the saying, “Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust,” which recalls the humble words that Abraham said to the Lord: “I am dust and ashes” (Genesis 18:27).  These same sentiments are heard from the mouth of Job: “I have become like dust and ashes” (Job 30:19).  From these Old Testament passages, we can clearly see that the origin of our penitential practice of imposing ashes comes from Judaism.  In the Old Covenant, a Jewish penitent customarily wore sackcloth (burlap), placed ashes on his head, and went barefoot on days of penance.  Like Abraham and Job, we realize that eventually we will all fall down in an earthly death. Today’s imposition of ashes is a vivid reminder.

Although the Church exhorts us to practice penance, she also reminds us how Jesus warned against ostentatious public displays of penance (Matthew 6:16-18).  We are not to be hypocrites.  In our acts of kindness, praying, and fasting we are to be humble, even hidden.  God does not call us to gloat or brag about our prayer, fasting, and almsgiving (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1434).  No one likes a boastful man, especially God: “I hate arrogance, and pride, and every wicked way, and a mouth with a double tongue” (Proverbs 8:13).  To avoid this pitfall, we must practice prudence.  A good example of this comes from Sir Winston Churchill.  A stranger was once asked Churchill, “Doesn’t it thrill you to know that every time you make a speech, the hall is packed to overflowing?”  Churchill replied, “It’s quite flattering.  But whenever I feel that way, I always remember that if instead of making a political speech I was being hanged, the crowd would be twice as big.”

In visiting the confessional this Lent, we must ask ourselves if we are superficial about what we confess.  It is easy for us to confess the sin that is obvious—those sins that simmer near the top of our minds and are often present to us.  Other sins do not lie at the surface level.  Although “hidden sins” are hard to discern, we pray with the Psalmist: “Who can understand sins? From my secret ones cleanse me, O Lord” (Psalm 19:12).  The answer comes with a deep examination of conscience—we want to hold our very soul open to God.

On Ash Wednesday, it seems that the Church could take our nursery rhyme for its motto: “Ashes! Ashes! We all fall down,” for it reminds us of our mortality and our human tendency to fall down in sin.  Mindful of our parting from this life and the account we must render before the Lord, St. Hildegard observed that the human soul is like “a feather on the breath of God.”  Because the life of each man is precious, even fragile, we should confidently place our lives in his hands and rest secure in God’s embrace.  As we heighten our trust in his divine mercy, we are enlivened to practice the spiritual and corporal works of mercy with zealous, generous and charitable hearts—hearts formed after his Sacred Heart.

As the priest this Ash Wednesday traces sign of the cross on your forehead at the imposition of ashes saying, “Remember man, you are dust, and to dust you shall return,” may you be led with the light of God’s redeeming love through Jesus Christ our Savior, who prepares us, by prayer and penance, for the joys of his day of resurrection.

Christ the Penitent par excellence.
First Sunday of Lent
Dt 26:4-10; Ps 91:1-2, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15; Rom 10:8-13; Lk 4:1-13
http://usccb.org/bible/readings/021713.cfm

Friends of the Cross, on this the first Sunday of Lent, the Sacred Scriptures present Our Lord both as a penitent and as a warrior.  Christ, the penitent par excellence, teaches us how to fast and pray well during this battle of forty days. As a warrior, trampling the “lion and the dragon” (Psalm 91), Christ our Captain teaches us how to do battle with the serpent.  As the Prince of Peace meets the Prince of Darkness, Christ repels the wicked attacks of the devil and is victorious.

Now, we rightly claim Christ’s victory for our own.  But no one who claims victory with Christ can exempt himself from the battle.  Therefore, every Christian must be a soldier in the army of Christ the King.  You have chosen to live in the world, and so you must be bold defenders of the faith in your own battlefields—at school, at work, and in your community.  When people speak out against our Catholic faith, when people attack Our Lord and the teachings of our holy Mother the Church, rise up and proudly profess your faith!  And if you suffer for it, or I should say, when you suffer for it—blessed are you.

Bishops, priests, deacons, religious, and seminarians, who have been set apart by the Church, must also war against the principalities and powers of darkness; we are not exempt.  I assure you that the rectory, the seminary, the monastery, and the convent are not spiritual safety-zones.  Hardly!  For the closer we draw near to Christ, we who vowed poverty, chastity, and obedience, the sneakier are the devils tactics.

If, then, all of us are to do battle in the army of Christ the King, what should we expect on the battlefield?  Psalm 91 tells us that arrows of temptation will fly at us, serpents will strike our heels, and lions will prowl about looking to devour the weak.  Satan’s minions, in their contempt for your baptismal promises, will tempt you.  So when the temptations come, dress yourself in armor for the battle.

First, perhaps, the evil tempter will lead you to become obsessed with getting worldly goods and pleasures.  So when your Christian spirit of poverty is under attack, dress yourself in the garment of charity and give alms to the poor.  If Satan cannot trap you by obsession with worldly goods, his evil cohorts, regardless of your state in life, will tempt you to unchastity.  When this happens put on the waistband of fasting, for if we mortify our flesh, if we “trample upon the lion and the dragon,” Satan will flee.  And if you are not yet caught by these two snares, Satan will not forget his favorite trap—pride.  And when Satan tempts you to pride, pick up your third weapon, the helmet of prayer.  Call on the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, and Satan will flee from us like a weakling.  Accompanied by the weapons of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, the weapon par excellence is the Sacrament of Confession, for there the sinner finds the sole antidote for his soul diseased by sin: God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness through sacramental absolution.

If penitents need a patron of penance, they can look to St. Damien of Molokai, the Leper.  St. Damien had a special pastoral ministry in the Church, living for over a decade among lepers on one of the Hawaiian Islands.  As a physician of souls, this priest sacrificed his own health to minister to these poor afflicted people.  Father Damien did not have access to the Sacrament of Confession himself, as he was the only priest there among the lepers.

When his Bishop came by ship to visit him, the ship’s captain, fearful of bringing leprosy back to the ship, forbade the Bishop to go ashore.  Undeterred, Father Damien rowed his boat into the middle of the sea, his battlefield, as it were, toward the boat where the Bishop stood on deck, and from his little boat, Father Damien knelt down and yelled out his confession in French.  Everyone heard his confession.  How many understood French?  We do not know.  But a reverent hush fell over the crowd as he told his sins, asking for the Lord’s forgiveness.  All crowded the deck in curiosity.  As the brave pastor of Molokai received his absolution, all, in silent and respectful wonder, learned the chief lesson of this Holy Sacrament:  Confession must be humble.

Are you prepared for the forty-day battle of Lent?  Before you leave this church today, put on your spiritual armor.  Crown yourself with the helmet of prayer and resolve to call on the names of Jesus and Mary in moments of temptation; fasten yourself with the waistband of fasting, and drive out the temptations of the flesh.  Then cover yourself with the garment of charity by giving alms to the poor.  Lastly, take up your penitential weapon, par excellence, the sword of the great Sacrament of Confession, and then follow Christ the King onto the battlefield where with Christ our, Paschal King, you “shall trample down the lion and the dragon.”  Amen.

The Transfiguration, and accessory joy
2nd Sunday of Lent
Gn 15:5-12, 17-18; Ps 27:1, 7-8, 8-9, 13-14; Phil 3:17—4:1; Lk 9:28b-36.
http://usccb.org/bible/readings/022413.cfm

In St. Matthew’s account of the Transfiguration, we learn that Our Lord’s face “shone as the sun and his garments became white as snow.  And Peter said, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here.’”  Indeed, the vision of Christ in glory was a marvel to behold.  But the Transfiguration was not a complete vision of Christ in heavenly glory, as we will one day behold in the “beatific vision,” but a temporary transfiguration of Christ’s external appearance which gave Peter, James and John a peek at Christ’s greater glory.

The transfiguration provided an anticipatory vision of what the powerful coming of God’s kingdom will be.  The disciples, who had only known him as a man, now had a greater realization of the deity of Christ, though they could not fully comprehend it.  The glory of the Transfiguration gave them the temporary reassurance they needed after hearing the disturbing news of his forthcoming passion and death.

Although both Matthew (17:1-13) and Luke (9:28-36) speak of light shining from Our Lord’s face, Mark mentions only the clothing of the Lord: “His garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them” (Mark 9:3).  The clothes we wear reflect bodily form.  However, our clothes are not our body.  There exists a reality which has the form of Christ’s body, but is not his physical body: it is the Church, his Mystical Body.  In the clothing of the transfigured Lord, we behold an image of the Church, the beloved Spouse whom Christ the Bridegroom desires to present to himself as “a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27).

St. Augustine of Hippo says that the Transfiguration was predicted in the Psalms: “Thou art clothed with light as with a garment.  Who stretchest out the heaven like a pavilion” (Psalm 103:2).  The renowned Bishop of Hippo taught us that, “Christ took the Church for his garment; because in him she became light, she who before was darkness in herself, as the Apostle teaches: ‘For you were heretofore darkness, but now light in the Lord.  Walk then as children of the light’” (Patrologia Latina 37, 1352).

God’s goodness resounds throughout all creation, and brings the children of his kingdom great joy.  Thus, in heaven, we will not only have perfect joy in the vision of God, but also a special kind of joy called “accessory joy.”  St. Teresa of Avila, the great Spanish mystic, was privileged to behold one hand of the risen Christ in a sacred vision (The Life of St. Teresa of Avila, Chapter XXIX).  So beautiful was the sight that she fell into a divine ecstasy.  If this be true of one hand of the Savior glorified, what joy awaits when we see the fullness of his divinity, not filtered through the lens of an eye—as at the Transfiguration of our Lord—but directly infused into our human intellect by Almighty God!  In the beatific vision, God directly infuses into the human mind his Presence, which obtains so much joy as to exclude the possibility of choosing anything outside of God.

About seven hundred years ago, a theological crisis arose regarding the doctrine of life in heaven.  To resolve the crisis, Pope Benedict XII issued Benedictus Deus (1336), on matters eschatological, addressing the four last things: heaven, hell, death, and judgement.  Pope Benedict XII said: “Since the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, the souls in heaven have seen, and do see, the divine essence with an intuitive and even face-to-face vision, without interposition of any creature … Rather, the divine essence immediately manifests itself to them plainly, clearly, and openly.”  Understand that no human eye will be needed to see God in heaven.  Rather, to the citizens of that happy estate, God immediately and directly reveals himself.  Moreover, this direct manifestation of God into the intellect of the blessed is accompanied by so much joy as to make it impossible for those in heaven to choose anything outside of God.

The saints lack no good because they possess the source of all good, who is God.  So they have no desire for anything other than God, and his holy will.  Put another way, no one in heaven is able to sin.  In heaven, the principle joy is the beatific vision, the vision of God seen “face-to-face.”  Yet, the Church also teaches that accessory joy will be obtained from other creatures, but only in so much as they are possessed in God.  So, in heaven, family members and friends will recognize each other, and receive joy in their continued friendship in Christ.  Moreover, the saints and angels will provide other sources of accessory joy, not just in their friendship, but in their simple presence.

While on this earth, St Francis of Assisi, just for a moment, heard an angel playing a violin, and he nearly died of joy.  St. Francis de Sales tells us that as the song of a nightingale far surpasses that of any other bird, so the voice of the Blessed Virgin Mary delights the happy soul in heaven, more than any angel and all the saints together.

Today the Gospel has shown us the Transfiguration of our Savior.  It was not the beatific vision—although it gives us a hint of it.  In this, there is a correlation with the Holy Eucharist.  Christ is truly present in the Holy Eucharist—Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.  Christ made that clear in John 6.  But in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, he chooses to veil himself under the appearance of bread and wine.  Why?  So that we can exercise the virtue of faith.  Does not Scripture say: “Blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed” (John 20:29)?

In the Transfiguration we behold the face of Christ, shining like the sun, and we are given the courage to persevere through our hardships, our humiliations.  The Transfiguration teaches us that bearing all of our crosses with joy will yield fruit in heaven, because if we suffer with Christ, we shall be glorified with him forever.  In the Transfiguration, Christ calls us to a deepening conversion.  Like Peter, James, and John we must turn our minds away from the passing pleasures of this world, towards the everlasting realities of heaven.  Amen.

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avatar About Fr. Scott A. Haynes, S.J.C.

As an organ and choral scholar at Washington’s National Cathedral from 1994-98, Fr. Haynes studied under the tutelage of Dr. Douglas Major, Organist and Choirmaster. Fr. Haynes completed choral conducting studies at the University of Alabama under Dr. Sandra Willets, complimented by post-graduate studies with Dr. James Jordan at Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey. Having studied composition under Dr. Frederic Goosen, he won the American Society of Composers and Arrangers’ Raymond Hubbell Award for orchestral composition in 1992. Today, he actively composes liturgical music for the choirs of St. John Cantius. Ordained in 2007 for the Archdiocese of Chicago as a member of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, Fr. Haynes serves as Associate Pastor of St. John Cantius Church, Chicago, Illinois.

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