Transfiguration of our Lord – Year A – August 6th


The feast of the Transfiguration became widespread in the West in the 11th century and was introduced into the Roman calendar in 1457 to commemorate the victory over Islam in Belgrade. Before that, the Transfiguration of the Lord was celebrated in the Cyrian, Byzantine, and Coptic rites.




Transfiguration & Deification by Bishop Barron

  • 1st Christians all about deification – the Christian life is about theosis – deification – becoming god. To allow our human nature to share in the divine nature.
  • Christ came NOT to make us new people BUT to give us a share in His own life – to become citizens of heaven – capable of living in a new world.
  • Transfiguration is an anticipation of the resurrection
  • This event impressed its mind so throughly on its followers
  • Apparently ordinary man from Nazareth was transfigured (metamorphsis – beyond the form) before his closest friends.
  • Heaven – living in the eternal now of God’s life.
  • Regardless of how much we enjoy life here, we are never truly at home – there is a permanent restlessness of life… and this shows forth most profoundly at the best times in life… there’s got to be something more!
  • We are NOT meant to simply be nice people… but sons and daughters of God.
  • All sacraments have a deifying purpose.
  • We don’t come to Mass to hear nice things but to eat God’s body and blood.


Bible Commentaries on Readings:


1st Reading -Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14

The aim of this book is to show that the God of Israel, the one true God, is greater than the pagan gods.

This reading comes from the 1st of 4 apocalyptic visions which Daniel received and it is a description of the celestial court.

“Like a son of man” means in human form. The part of the vision not read today describes four beasts (four kingdoms) that had come from the great abyss below. The celestial court is sitting in judgment of the fourth beast. The human form is presented as a heavenly contrast to the beastly forms of evil. The beasts are figures of the pagan kingdoms, the one in human form symbolizes the holy ones of God most high. The concept of the “son of man” eventually shifted from a figure of speech for the theocratic kingdom into a term for the messianic king himself. This change appears in Enoch, written a century or two before the time of Christ.

2nd Reading – 2 Peter 1:16-19

The 2nd letter of Peter was written from Rome about a year before Peter’s martyrdom (this would date the letter about A.D. 63). Various commentators place the date as late as A.D. 140 based on its discussions of Gnostic problems but these same discussions can (and do) address the heresies and errors of the Simonites and the Nicolaitans who were around in A.D. 63 and were forerunners of Gnosticism.

16 We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.

In response to this charge of myth Peter offers the best evidence, his own experience as an eyewitness that Jesus already possesses the essential qualities to be manifested at his coming: majesty, honor and glory from the Father, messianic and divine sonship.

Gospel – Matthew 17:1-9

The transfiguration occurred shortly after the feeding of the five thousand and the four thousand. The account of the transfiguration confirms that Jesus is the Son of God and points to fulfillment of the prediction that He will come in His Father’s glory at the end of the age (Matthew 16:27). This event marks the beginning of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem for His passion. If this reading sounds familiar, it is because we last heard it on the Second Sunday in Lent during this cycle.

3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him.

Moses and Elijah represent respectively the Law and the Prophets. The term “the Law and the Prophets” was used to designate the entire collection of Old Testament books, and thus the fullness of the revelation of God to Israel. Jesus joins the two as the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets (see Matthew 5:17). Elijah was assumed bodily into heaven (2 Kings 2:11) and Hebrew legend has it that Moses was also assumed. This may explain how both can appear here in bodily form. Neither Matthew nor Mark tell us what was discussed, but Luke 9:31 says “They spoke about his departure (exodus), which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.”

4 Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Lord, is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

Peter is a master of understatement. No doubt he is making a reference to the feast of tabernacles, one of three yearly feasts for which all males of Israel were required to travel to the Temple and lived in tents (or booths). The feast occurred in September-October and lasted for eight days. The three Apostles want to stick around for a while. The feast of tabernacles commemorated the sojourn of the Israelites on Mount Sinai while they received the revelation of the Law through Moses. This is not the revelation of another law, a greater reality is manifested here. Jesus fulfills the Law and the Prophets.

Gratitude – it is good that we are here –


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