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March 5, 1993     The Message
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5,1993 The Message Monthly -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Commentary -- Transfiguration of Jesus: A promise of resurrection Commentary for 7, Second Sunday of Lent, Cycle A: Matthew 17:1-9 The annual presentation of Jesus&apos; me+-- - tmorpnosis, so it is by both Mark and Matthew, again. The term "trans- is the English form of Latin word "transfiguratio," Old Testament. As Luke used the Sinai expe- rience of the Israelites in the Book of Exodus to construct his vision of the coming of the Spirit, so the early Christian Church used the Sinai-Moses sto- ries to interpret Jesus' transfigu- ration. Both take place on a high mountain. Jesus' face becomes written at least 40 years after the death of Jesus. Luke and Matthew, though using the story in mark, Considerably alter it to suit their own the- 0gy. We are concerned here with Matthew's [urrn of the story and with its basic form in mark. As the foundation of the story we must )se some kind of a religious experience by iples, an experience they related to oth- then took various' forms in succeed- To form the story as we now have and preachers would have looked for ration to their Scriptures, which we call the . translates the Greek "meta- like the sun just like the face of 0rphisis." Simply defined a - Moses shone so that the Isrealites ansfiguration or metamornhosis By FATHER could not look at it In the trans-  an abrupt change into another DOII'ALD DILGER figuration Moses and Elijah ap- orra, for example, the butterfly COLUMNIST pear with Jesus In the Scri tures emer in f " " "- P" th -g g rom its cocoon. Thus   both Moses and Ehlah experl- u eutterfly has sometimes been ence Yahweh on Mount. Sinai, i,,setl,_ as. a s y mbol of t he resurrection of Jesus . As althou g h centuries ap art . As in the transfi g ura- - me transfiguration, so in the resurrection tion, so on Sinai the cloud plays an important Sus appears in a changed form. The connection role. Both Moses and Elijah receive instructions s'etWeen transfi-uration and resurrection of Jesus on Mount. Sinai for their ,oeoole, . In the transfig- rJtonded by the three gospel stories of the uration the disciples of Jesus are instructed: mlSliguration in Mark, Matthew, and Luke. "Listen to him!" . . . , What the original form of the story was is But there are also influences other than the tlfficult to say. The earliest form of it is in Mark Sinai experience. Peter's request to build three booths reflects the Jewish celebration of the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles, a joyous occa- sion in which participants built booths of leaves and branches in which they ate and slept for the duration of the feast. The celebration of this feast eventually came to symbolize among the Jews the joy of messianic times, a time when there would be perpetual light The reaction of the disciples is patterned on the reaction of the holy man Daniel. In the Book of Daniel he has a vision in which he hears the words: "la'sten to the words that I will'speak to you." Daniel like the disciples falls on his face. He is reassured by "one like the sons of men," a term Matthew used to describe Jesus just before the transfiguration. Daniel is told not to publicize his vision "until the time of the end." The disciples are told not to speak of their vision "until the Son of man is raised from the dead." What does Matthew teach his church by this story? The message is in the context. How does he place the story? Just before the transfig- uration Matthew places sayings of Jesus predict- ing his own death and resurrection and other statements expressing the difficult requirements for following Jesus, even to the point of giving up one's life in order to find it again. The disci- ples through the words of Peter rejected the dif- ficult way of the cross. After the transfiguration Jesus and the disciples speak about the resurrec- tion and the return of Elijah signalling the end times. The disciples lack of faith is then shown by their inability to cure a sick boy. Immediately there follows another prediction of the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The transfiguration is in the middle of all this as a sign of hope. The words, "Listen to him!" are crucial. The disciples had rejected the way of the cross on which Jesus insists before and after the transfiguration. This is what they must listen to. If they follow Jesus on the way of the cross, they will follow Jesus to the glory of the resurrection of which the transfiguration is the promise. Other readings: Genesis 12:1-4; II Timothy 1:8-10. 9 are ex- 41, A m, blind March 28: Fifth Sunday of Lent; |ohn 11:1. rrection 'Lazarus; : L m Dorl INSURANCE SERVICE ., Auto! Home! Fire & Life! tour Personal Service Agent L. Will Ins. Agency Inc. '. Franklin Street 42 I I,&W0RIDOF POSSIBILITIES : 1 hool c ,.,,_,tOardlng and <.y counmes. Lovely 190 acres,.. I Since 1 'uuea to education 1 hour northeast of Evansville. +o,, , ,-,,, ,o,m ,od I [ a ,up .- l 1 I prepamto,.y I Idc.h.._ "' Wltll a 7:1 student/ " ' s .... "; env-'- . - Omce of Admi.' |')r a " } I i2io' Foreign language "-s' s. oca 17 ,r .......... ......... I I Adaline L. Carie of Vincennes is the winner of dinner for two at the Radisson Inn, I I Evansville. Her name was drawn from the 19 correct entries submitted in last month's I I Catholic Quiz. I I Carie correctly answered that the four standing committees proposed for every Parish I Pastoral Council are Christian Education, Spiritual Life/Worship, Christian Social ! Action/Community Outreach, and Administration/Finance. She also correctly noted that each parish could send up to five people to a deanery ! synod assembly, and she correctly listed the locations of the deanery synod assemblies. I If you know the answers to (he followingquestions, you may win overnight lodging for i two or an afternoon pool party for eight at the Radisson Inn, D,:ansville. Entries should be I received by March 24 at the Message, P,O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 4772443169. I 1. How many Pastoral Life Coordinators serve parishes in the Diocese of Evansville? ! I I , ? 2. When was the first Diocesan Council established in the Diocese of E ansville; 3. What is the literal meaning of the term, ad limina? i I III I H I I I I Your name Address City/State/Zip "relenhone ...... ! ! 1 i+. 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