Sunday, March 17, 2019


In this morning’s Second Reading from Saint Paul's Letter to the Philippians, he exhorts his brothers and sisters to conduct themselves according to the model they have in him. Elsewhere Paul exhorts the Corinthians, “Be followers of me as I am of Christ.” The glory that anyone of us manifests is the glory we share in Christ, individually and especially corporately. And the surest way to achieve glory is to act as did Jesus Christ "who did not count equality with God something to be grasped at but emptied himself taking the form of a slave obedient unto death, death on a cross. Because of this God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name above every other name so that every tongue would confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father." Paul reminds his faithful flock that by living in Christ, God will change our lowly body to conform to his glorified body by the power that enables him also to bring all things into subjection to himself.  May we not resist that subjection. The embrace of the glorious cross is the ultimate freedom to live in the one who sets us free by the glory of his saving power.

Today’s Gospel is Saint Luke's version of the Transfiguration of Jesus. We see in Luke's account the same dazzling white brightness of the glory of God shining forth from the face and clothing of Jesus as in the other synoptic gospels. Luke alone, however, of the evangelists says explicitly that “they saw his glory.”  Luke alone mentions the content of the conversation of Jesus with Moses and Elijah. They spoke of the exodus that Jesus was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. It will be an exodus across the Red Sea of Blood on the cross of Calvary, the glorious cross, a cross that moves the Father to exalt Jesus and his name, but also to exalt all those who glory in the name of Jesus by sharing in his cross, as well as his crown: sharing in his self-emptying for others, in his suffering for others and in his laying down his life for them. 

In his Third Sermon on the Song of Songs, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux makes a passing allusion to the ecstatic words of Saint Peter, “It is good that we are here!”  As Bernard speaks to the monks, guests arrive at the gate of Clairvaux and Bernard is obliged to break off the Chapter talk to go to greet them and oversee their hospitable reception. Before doing so he looks out at the community gathered in Chapter saying, “Brothers, it is wonderful that we are here.” In the context of this Liturgy on this little mountain of transfiguration here in Spencer, brothers and sisters, it is wonderful that were are here - here to behold the Lamb of God, the Son, in whom the Father is well pleased, to listen to his Word and be ourselves transfigured spiritually by his glorified Body and Blood in the Eucharist, and so like Saint Bernard to become ever more hospitable to others.  As Saint Paul told us this morning, “Our citizenship is in heaven and from heaven we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body by the power that enables him also to bring all things into subjection to himself.  Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord.”

Excerpts from this morning’s homily by Father Luke.