reading 2 — Rom 8:31b-34

Brothers and sisters:
If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare his own Son
but handed him over for us all,
how will he not also give us everything else along with him?

Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones?
It is God who acquits us, who will condemn?
Christ Jesus it is who died—or, rather, was raised—
who also is at the right hand of God,
who indeed intercedes for us.

Verse Before the Gospel– Mt 17:5

From the shining cloud the Father’s voice is heard:
This is my beloved Son, listen to him.

Gospel — Mk 9:2-10

Jesus took Peter, James, and John
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them,
and his clothes became dazzling white,
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses,
and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Rabbi, it is good that we are here!
Let us make three tents:
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them;
from the cloud came a voice,
“This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”
Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone
but Jesus alone with them.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone,
except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
So they kept the matter to themselves,
questioning what rising from the dead meant.

**

THE AKEDA AND THE TRANSFIGURATION

by Father Robert Barron

In her readings, the Church asks us to consider the account of Abraham’s faith in tandem with the Gospel account of the Transfiguration of the Lord. They are indeed parallel narratives.

Jesus leads Peter, James, and John up a high mountain. We know from the symbolism of the mountain that an encounter with God’s mystery is imminent. Next, “His clothes became dazzling white. And behold two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.” The brightness is evocative of the light that passed through the divided sections.

Then there is the “trance” that accompanies faith. “Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep…” This anticipates in a very mild way the terrible darkness that Peter and his companions are going to be asked to endure. When Jesus enters into his Passion, their lives fell apart; everything they believed was turned upside-down.

But then they come fully awake and they see the glory of the Lord – and Peter says something characteristically rash: “Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” His statement is beautiful, touching, and deeply human, but spiritually misguided precisely because authentic faith never settles down, never builds booths, never stays put. And it certainly can never live under the illusion that it is in charge.

“While he was still speaking, a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud.” Just when you think you have control over God, God confounds you – not because he’s being difficult, but because he is a God of the future, a God of adventure, a God of fuller life.

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