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February 21, 1997     The Message
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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 Commentary __ Transfiguration ()f Jesus: Light in darkness ,1997: Second Sunday B: Mark 9:2.10 in of of the temptation of Was the violent persecu- of Rome dur- of the first century to them how to undergo by Satan, that he over- His victory yet greater the cross. People who tion. As the master goes, so the disci- ple. "Whoever loses his life for my sake and the sake of the gospel will find it." An important influence on the formation of the promise of resurrec- tion and glory is the Old Testament Book of Daniel: "Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever." This was the promise made to the Jewish martyrs of 16%165 B.C. 'he wise" are those who persevered and survived. "Those who turn many to righteous- ness" are the martyrs. The story of Jesus' transfigu- ration is an illustration of this saying of the Book of Daniel. Jesus not only was preeminently "the wise," but "turned many to righteousness." This according to Isaiah 53:11, a passage often related to Jesus: By his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous .... " The transfiguration takes place "after six days." Again we are reminded of Mark's highly creative and symbolic writing. Like the good teacher he is, he wants to bring to the mind of his readers all the Old Testament lore he can crowd into this story. "After six days" recalls Exodus 24:16-17, "The glory of the Lord settled on Mt. Sinai for six days, and on the seventh he called out of the midst of the cloud. The appearance of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain .... And Moses entered the cloud." Here we have most of the elements of the transfiguration story, the six days. the mountain, the By FATHER DON DILGER COLUMNIST and kept their told that the possibility of martyr- present. They had now been to face the cross. "No servant is his master. If they persecute d me, they you," John 15:20. all they had to look forward to? Before question, Mark puts together various esus to remind his readers what they can after me, let them deny up their cross and follow me .... and my words in this... the Son of man be ashamed of his Father with the words, when Jesus and Mark CrOss that looms over Christian life, they ! a resurrection to glory for those who in the prediction of his suf- esus also promised his resurrec- glory of the Lord, the cloud, the voice from the cloud, Moses. Yet to be added was Elijah. This ancient prophet also had his encounter with the Lord on Mt. Sinai (Horeb)just as Moses did. See I Kings 19:8-18. For the words of the voice from the cloud Mark turns to Genesis 22 the story of Abraham's sacrifice of his son Isaac, there called "your only son, your beloved." Already in Jewish theology of the first cen- tury B.C. the sacrifice of Abraham was connected with the sacrifice of the Passover lamb. Isaac was to have been sacrificed at the very hour when the Passover lamb was slain, according to the Book of Jubilees. Christian theology picked up on this. Jesus was described as the true Passover lamb, and Abra- ham's sacrifice of his beloved son was considered a preview or a type of God the Father's sacrifice of his Son Jesus. Thus, amid the glory of the transfigura- tion, Mark reminds his readers that this glory is achieved only through the cross. The second part of the voice from heaven comes from Deuteronomy 18:15, where the Israelites are told to listen to the "prophet like Moses" whom God would raise up to lead them, "Him you shall listen to!" Christian theology saw Jesus as "the prophet like Moses," Acts 3:22-23. So Mark has assembled a veritable catechism in the story of the transfigura- tion. Today every Christian is asked to receive the message Mark intended: With Jesus as your guide, you too can face the cross of the future and attain to the glory of the resurrection. "If any wish to come after me, let them take up their cross and follow me." "Listen to Him!  Readings: Genesis 22:1-2,9a,10-13,15-18; Romans 8.'31b.34. CO.,00 [NC. nd SERVICE : St: Anthony, i PHONE 326-2321 STEAK HOUSE STEAKs . SEAFOOD CHICKEN LARGE PARTY ROOMS Haubstadt, [nd: e antl Sh oppmg OUil00 JASPER LUMBER CO.  COMPLETE BUILDING SERVICE Ph: 482-1125 RT. 4, JASPER rtisers SO. shop Christian Books & Gifts Bey & Charlie Mendel, owners (612) 634-7756 416 Jackson St Jasper, IN 47546 i iii Dr. Jane A. Hormuth Chiropractic Phys[cian 474-0704 Hormuth Chiropractic (Ic, 1111 S Green River Rd., Suite 104 I Built with Quality to Save You Time & Money BllWSHI$$1011S Factory and General Office Hwy. 231 S., Jasper, IN (812) 482-1041 Knights of Columbus Council 830 DINING ROOM OPEN Fri. & Sat. 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