The Transfiguration

6th August 2017

The Book of Daniel is one of the later books, in just the second century Before Christ, but in Catholic Bibles it is classed with the prophets rather than just the (later) writings. It is an interpretation of the Jews’ history chiefly during and since the Babylonian captivity of the Jews, this is followed by a number of visionary ‘dreams,’ to which were added even later three other such stories. Our reading for today is from the beginning of the second of these sections, omitting the prose in verses 11 and 12. This comes after the description of the demise of the four beasts representing the foreign empires that dominated them. So what will come next, they hope, in their history is the reign of their own God, described in the most elaborate and visionary language; and from His throne He will establish a leader of His own making who will also be a universal ruler over the whole world. All this is the belief and hope that the downtrodden people have – and Christians liken Jesus’ influence gradually affecting our world as the fulfillment of this dream.

The New Testament reading is from the opening section of 2 Peter. The letter was attributed to Peter to give it authority in the tradition of much writing in those days of attributing a book to some famous or well-known person.  In the extract the writer draws on his own powerful experience of the present of Christ in the world, in order to encourage those who are growing weak in the Christian belief  in the past, present and eventual success of God’s creation as a wonderful enterprise of His presence active and powerful everywhere.  The writer loks back to the account he knows of the transfiguration in the gospels with which he is familiar and forward to the final and complete coming of Christ at the end of time in which he believes.  We live in the meantime, between these two events and even have a part to play in progressing the the final outcome.

 

The Gospel is from Matthew’s version of the transfiguration.  We remember that the gospel is the good news, and this bit of it reminds us that what we should see in the world is the presence of God; the good news is that God in Jesus has brought to completion the Law and order based  represented Moses’ leadership and teaching and the with His Spirit the fulfillment of the prophecies and hopes of Elijah and all the prophets;  our response to this good news is to see it and to bring it to light for ourselves and others in our world right now.

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