Transfiguration

From Lenten Series Collection - TK
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Opening Stories:
1) The Samurai Warrior and the Zen Master

One day, a Samurai warrior went to a Zen master for instruction. "Please," the huge man asked in a thundering voice that was used to instant obedience, "teach me about heaven and hell."
The master scowled at the swordsman, then broke into mocking laughter. "Me, teach you about heaven and hell? I wouldn't waste a moment trying to instruct the brain of an overweight ignoramus like you! How dare you ask me for such a lofty insight?"
Well, upon hearing these words, the Samurai grew furious. No one could insult him like this and get away with it. Enraged, his face flushed and he drew his sword to chop off the teacher's head. Just as he was about to strike, the master raised his hand and calmly said "That, sir, is hell."
Upon hearing this, the samurai suddenly realized the profound lesson the master had just taught him – that we make our own hell by indulging in anger and resentment. The warrior was so grateful for this teaching that he dropped his sword and fell to his knees in front of the Master, bowing in humility and gratitude. When he looked up, the old man was smiling.
"And that, sir," the teacher noted, "is Heaven.
"You risked your very life to teach me in this way?", the Samurai couldn't help asking the master.
"I figured that there was no other way you would have learnt!", the master calmly explained.


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Rev. Richard J. Fairchild
The story is told about  
         A man took his new hunting dog on a trial hunt one day.
         After a while he managed to shoot a duck and it fell in
         the lake.  The dog walked over the water, picked up the
         duck, and brought it to his master.
          The man was stunned.  He didn't know what to think.  He
         shot another duck and again, it fell into the lake and
         again the dog walked over the water and brought it back to his master.
         Hardly daring to believe his eyes, and not wanting to be
         thought a total fool, he told no-one about it - but the
         next day he called his neighbour to come shooting with
         him.  As on the previous day he shot a duck and it fell
         into the lake.  The dog walked over the water and got it.
         His neighbour didn't say a word.  Several more ducks got
         shot that day - and each time the dog walked over the
         water to retrieve them - and each time the neighbour said
         nothing and neither did the owner of the dog. 

         Finally - unable to contain himself any longer the owner
         asked his neighbour - "do you notice anything strange
         about my dog??"
         Yes - replied the neighbour - rubbing his chin and
         thinking a bit - come to think of it I do - your dog
         doesn't know how to swim.."
The story of the transfiguration of Jesus is a difficult one to
talk about. 
Many people have difficulty understanding what happened
         - the experience is outside of their frame of reference,
         - it just doesn't click with them,
          just as seeing the dog walking on the water didn't really
          click with the neighbour in the story I just told.
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Introduction to the Celebration
As we continue our Lenten journey towards Easter, we recall today the experience of the first disciples on their journey to the first Easter in Jerusalem. On a high mountain they beheld for a moment the glory of Jesus and heard the Father’s voice saying, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, he enjoys my favour, listen to him.’ Let us now reflect that, forgiven our sins, we may behold Christ’s glory in this celebration, and let us ask the Spirit to help us hear Christ’s voice in our lives.
 Michel de Verteuil
General notes
The three apostles experience the glory of Jesus in a wonderful way that will affect for ever their relationship with him (see 2 Peter 1:16-18). When did you, or someone you know, experience glory that until then had been hidden? In Jesus? In the Church community? In a friend or a member of your family? In a bible passage? In nature?
The story is told as a journey with different stages, and as you meditate on it you will find yourself recognizing these stages from your experience. 
Text comments
      -  Verse 1 :  To experience the transfiguration the apostles must entrust themselves to Jesus and let him lead them up a very high mountain where they can be alone.
      -  Verses 2 and 3 : They see not merely Jesus in glory but conversing with his great fore-runners who have been heroes to them.
      -   Verse 4 :  Identify with Peter who would like to remain there forever.

      -   Verse 5 : Jesus is experienced as beloved Son of God, to be listened to with reverence, but this time through “a voice from the cloud”, a totally inner experience, a “blessed assurance”.
      -  Verses 6 – 8 : A very tender passage; Jesus gentle with the apostles, helping them to make the transition back to seeing him as he normally is, but now quite different because of the transfiguration experience. Who was Jesus in your life who did this for you?

       -  Verse 9 : The apostles return to ordinary living, but with a memory so deep that they know they cannot share it with others for the indefinite future.
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 Thomas O’Loughlin
 Note
In all three years, the gospel today is that of the Transfiguration (Matthew in A; Mark in B; Luke in C), and there are three themes running through the readings: (1) that God has established a covenant with his people which is realised in his making known to his people the Christ through a ‘voice from heaven’; (2) that the disciples of the Beloved are ‘to listen to his voice’, and listening to the Word is presented as a key theme of Lent; and (3) that just as the Transfiguration strengthened the first disciples for the coming passion of their Lord (Matthew) / Rabbi (Mark) / Master (Luke), so our hearing about it today should strengthen us and make us more responsive to the whole Paschal Mystery which we are preparing to celebrate.
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John Litteton
Gospel Reflection

During Lent, while we prepare to commemorate the death and resurrection of Christ and celebrate the everlasting life he shares with us at Easter, we are invited to review our lives in the context of our Christian faith and the teachings of his Church. Also, we are encouraged to repent of our sins and to do penance for them so that we can renew our relationship with Christ. Hence Lent is characterised by prayer, fasting and penance.
But these penitential aspects of Lent are not intended to discourage us even if they challenge us severely. Indeed, the example of the Church’s saints teaches us that those who are most disciplined and faithful to Christ
are those who display the greatest joy. It is a mistake to connect penance with unhappiness. The opposite is true. In fact, our society is full of people who are pursuing hedonistic pleasure, which they mistake for happiness, and who are miserable in the pursuit of false happiness.
Lent is meant to be fundamentally a good experience because the established Lenten practices facilitate our ongoing conversion to the Gospel. So our prayer during Lent needs to be enthusiastically similar to the words spoken by Peter to Jesus during the Transfiguration: ‘Lord, it is wonderful for us to be here’ (Mt 17:4).
Lent offers us a yearly opportunity to undergo conversion from sin. It is only when we abandon sin that we can truly begin the pursuit of authentic happiness and experience the joy of the saints in our lives. Sin alienates us from God and, often, from other people. So it is imperative that we eradicate it from our lives.
Then we are drawn closer to Jesus and that is our purpose here on earth — to become close to Jesus because God made us to know, love and serve him in this world so that we may be happy with him forever in heaven. An appropriate prayer, therefore, is: It is wonderful for us to be here.
However, as we know, Lent is quite demanding and requires considerable spiritual discipline, especially if we are not in the habit of fasting and doing penance. It would be impossible for us to embrace wholeheartedly the challenges of the Gospel while depending on our own resolve alone. For that reason, we need to remember Jesus’ consoling words to his close friends when they were frightened on the mountain: ‘Stand up, do not be afraid’ (Mt 17:7). We are never alone.
Our Lenten motto becomes: It is wonderful for us to be here. In addition, we are encouraged by Jesus’ words: ‘Do not be afraid.’ They remind us that he is in control. Jesus also spoke these words to Peter in the boat when a storm raged all around them. He was teaching them — and us — not to fret but to trust in God’s providence.
A central message of Lent is that, at least metaphorically, we put on sackcloth and ashes, do penance for our sins and seek to make progress in the spiritual life, thereby uniting ourselves with the suffering Christ. By taking such practical steps, we can be sure of pleasing God and growing in true happiness and real joy.
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Homily Notes
1. This gospel challenges all the easy reductions that we make about Jesus: Jesus the inspiring teacher, Jesus the compassionate preacher, Jesus the friend of the poor. He is all these, but he is also the One who comes from the Father, the One who, we believe, was prepared for by the prophets, the One who stands at the centre of history. The transfiguration calls us to expand our religious horizons.
2.  But the story has a curious comic element: the Lord of history is transfigured with these earlier prophets each side of him, and Peter wants to set up a campsite! This shows the intimacy with which the human and the divine are present in Jesus: he is with his friends and interacts with them; he is present in the glory of God. All handy distinctions such as ‘high christology’ versus ‘low’, or ‘immanence’ versus ‘transcendence’ are seen as too tied down to the limits of our understanding by this scene: God is always greater, and what we can say about God is what we can see in Jesus.

3. Preaching must not try to ‘explain’ this scene, nor even to ‘expand’ upon it. Rather the scene calls for our minds and imag­inations to dwell on it and seek to make its ‘picture’ of the ad­vent of God our own. So give a bit of the background that the first audience would have known, and then let imagination seek greater depths.

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Scripture Prayer
       “There are three phases of prayer: me and Him; Him and me; just Him.”       …Anglican Bishop Stephen  Verney
      
       Lord, we thank you that in this season of Lent
       you will take with you many of your disciples and lead them
       up a high mountain where you can be alone with them;
       then, in their presence you will be transfigured,
       your face shining like the sun
       and your clothes becoming as white as the light.
       We thank you that not only you, but Moses and Elijah
       will appear to them, talking with you.
       Surely they will cry out in their joy:
       “Lord, it is wonderful for us to be here.
       If you wish, we will make three tents,
       one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
       We pray that you will lead them beyond what they can see and feel;
       that a bright cloud will cover them with shadow
       and from the cloud a voice may come, saying:
       “This is my Son, the beloved; he enjoys my favour, listen to him.”
       “The traveler cannot love because love is stasis and travel is motion.”
                                                                                                                  ……Derek Walcott
        Lord, we are afraid to get close to people,
       to let them lead us up a high mountain where we can be alone.
       And so they cannot be transformed in our presence
       and we cannot hear the voice from the cloud
       telling us that they are your sons and daughters, your Beloved,
       that they enjoy your favour and that we must listen to them.
       We pray for the Church in the world.
       Help us that when people fall on their faces before you,
       overcome with fear,
       we may come up and touch them, and say to them: 
        “Do not be afraid.”
       “We ought not to learn silence from speaking but rather by keeping silent we must learn to speak.”     …St Gregory
      
Lord, help us to be content that when we raise our eyes from a deep experience
       we see only those who we are called to live with
       and we come down from the mountain with them.
       Lord, we thank you for those beautiful moments on the mountain,
       so deep that as we came down we knew
       that we must tell no one about the vision
       until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
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REFLECTIONS: 
1.    Connections: 
THE WORD:
In today’s Gospel, Peter, James and John witness the extraordinary transformation of Jesus that we know as the “transfiguration.”  Matthew’s account (which takes place six days after Jesus’ first prediction of his passion and his first instructions on the call to discipleship) is filled with images from the First Testament: the voice which repeats Isaiah’s “Servant” proclamation, the appearance of Moses and Elijah, the dazzling white garments of Jesus.  Matthew’s primary interest is the disciple’s reaction to the event: their awe at this spectacular vision will soon wither into fear at the deeper meaning of the transfiguration -- a meaning that they do not yet grasp.  As the disciples will later understand, the transfiguration is a powerful sign that the events ahead of them in Jerusalem are indeed the Father’s will. 
HOMILY POINTS:
To experience transfiguration is to realize that there exists within each of us the “divinity,” the love of God, that enables us to transforms our lives and the lives of those we love.  It is exactly that love — that “divinity” — that Peter, James and John behold in Jesus on the mount of the Transfiguration.  The power of that sacred presence shines through us, as well, even when we do not notice it or are unaware that God’s love is in our midst. 
Peter’s reaction to the Christ of the Transfiguration contrasts sharply with his reaction to the Christ of Good Friday:  While totally taken with the transfigured Christ in today’s Gospel, Peter will be too afraid to even acknowledge knowing the condemned Christ on Good Friday morning.  Lent calls us to descend Mount Tabor with Jesus and journey with him to Jerusalem to take up our cross with him, so that the divinity we see in the transfigured Jesus may become in us the Easter life of the Risen Christ.

 To become the person you once needed
When Sara became ill many years ago, bulimia was not yet a household world.  Filled with guilt at her uncontrollable behavior, she was taken to specialist after specialist until someone was able to identify the problem as something much more than teenage rebellion.  Slowly she fought her way back from the edge.  Sara was surrounded by many loving adults, but no one could understand why she was doing this to herself.  She didn't understand it either.  Sara fought her disease alone and managed to conquer it.
Now happily married, Sara read a story in her local newspaper about a new support group for those suffering from bulimia.  Although Sara had not suffered from its symptoms since she was a teenager, she was intrigued by the idea of a support group and went to the meeting.  It was a powerful experience.  The desperately ill young people there touched her heart.  While she felt unable to help them, she cared about them and continued attending the meetings.  Other than saying she had bulimia as a girl, Sara revealed little about herself at the meetings; she sat quietly and listened to the stories of others.
As she was about to leave one of the sessions, Sara was stopped by a painfully thin girl who thanked her for coming and told her how much it meant to know her.  The girl’s eyes filled with tears.  Sara responded with her usual graciousness, but was puzzled.  Sara could not recall ever speaking to this girl and did not even know her name.
As she drove home, Sara wondered how she could have forgotten something so important to someone else.  She was almost home when it dawned on her.
Her husband, who met her at the front door, was surprised to see that she had been crying.

“Sara, what's wrong?” he asked.
A smile broke through her tears.
“Harry, I've become the person I needed to meet,” she told him and walked into his arms.

[From My Grandfather’s Blessings by Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.] 

The lesson of the Transfiguration is that there exists within each one of us the spirit of God to become the person God calls us to be.  It is the same spirit, that same “divinity,” that Peter, James and John behold in Jesus on the mount of the Transfiguration.  The power of that sacred presence shines through us, as well, even when we do not notice.  Like Sara, we are a blessing to others, simply by being who we are.  We become what Archbishop Desmond Tutu calls “agents of transfiguration”:  “God places us in the world as God's fellow workers -- agents of transfiguration.  We work with God so that injustice is transfigured into justice, so that there will be more compassion and caring, so that there will be more laughter and joy, so that there will be more togetherness in God’s world.” 
2.     Andrew Greeley 
Background:
 Were the same people in the Palm Sunday procession in Jerusalem and in the crowds which demanded Jesus' execution a few days later. Perhaps some of the same people were at both events. More likely, however, they were two very different crowds. The former was made up of his followers and friends from Galilee, the latter from the wandering mobs that characterize any city on a big festival day.   
 Where were the followers of Jesus? With a few exceptions they were somewhere else. They knew they couldn't fight "city hall." They realized that the dream was over and that what they had feared all along would happen. The leaders would snatch Jesus secretly and put an end to his "good news" which they perceived as a threat to their power. What the realists among Jesus' followers had predicted all along had at last happened.   
 The best thing to do was to go to ground and hide till the trouble blew over. Jesus was wonderful all right, but what had he done for them lately.
Story:
 Once upon a time there was a basketball coach. When he came to his new school, they had not enjoyed a winning season for eight years. The media vultures naturally said he was a poor choice and pouted because no one had paid any attention to their recommendations. His first season the team broke even. The fans were unhappy. Maybe the media vultures were right. The next season, they ended up in second place in their conference. The vultures said that the team would have won if the coach had not made a lot of mistakes in key games.  
 Then for seven years in a row the team won their conference championship. The vultures continued to complain and the important alumni worried about how long the run could last. The following year the team finished in second place. The vultures went wild with glee. The coach was losing it. The next year was worse because the team was stricken with sickness, injuries and academic ineligibility; the coach had only one year left on his contract. .  
 The alumni were now whispering to the athletic director, get rid of the bum! What has he done for us lately. The athletic director agreed because he resented the coach’s popularity. They wanted to fire him on the spot. But the president of the school insisted that he be permitted to finish out his contract (Presidents sometimes have the odd notion that sports are not the only really important thing in a school.) The coach was booed at the early games as he tried to hold together a team of talented but inexperience freshmen. You know what happened then? They won the national championship and coach accented a ten million dollar contract at another university.
3.     Fr. James Gilhooley
A child saw a dust-covered book. He asked what it was. His father replied, "That's God's book - the Bible." The boy replied, "You better return it to God because nobody here reads it." If our Bible is in good shape, we are not.
The Transfiguration was among the very few exhilarating moments in the career of Jesus. His was hardly a cake walk. It was one tough existence. We have a nasty habit of confining His horror moments to His last days. That judgment comes from not reading the Gospels.

The Transfiguration is so familiar to all of us that it has lost its original bang. We have to take off our wraparound sun- glasses. The scales of over-exposure must be peeled from our eyes in order to take a fresh look.

Our Leader was finishing an eight month tour of one night stands in the provincial towns of Galilee. He was eating nothing but junk food at greasy spoons. He considered Himself lucky when He got it. He was sweltering in the 100 plus degree heat and freezing at night under the stars. He was not sleeping. He was staying one step ahead of the cops. His audiences were receiving Him coldly.

Shortly before this account opens, the Teacher had told the twelve of His approaching death. They went into a downer. They had thought the glory days were coming. They had visions of twenty year service and retirement as monsignors on pension, clergy discounts, work on their golf swing, etc. And now this announcement. Who needed it?
Then Jesus took them on a three day forced march southward from northern Palestine. He had to wear a no-nonsense face. He feared a mutiny or suspected they would slip away after dark. That they did not reveals the love that already bound the apostles to Him. For them Jesus was Teilhard's smile of God.

Exhausted, they wound up at Mount Tabor situated near Jesus' hometown of Nazareth. The mountain runs up about 1800 feet. It is almost a straight ascent. When I was there, tourist buses could not reach the top. One had to go up in an eight cylinder auto. Imagine the physical condition of Jesus. As a boy said to me, "Jesus was no wimp."

He loved mountain tops. They brought Him closer to His Father.
Christ elected Peter, James, and John to join Him. The other nine, left at the base camp, were happy they had not been drafted. They were looking for a shady tree, a cool breeze, and a stream to do laundry and chill red wine. They needled the three drafted ones with the message, "Tell us about it tomorrow, fellows."

Their clothes sticking to their skin, the four finally got to the top about 4 PM. They were running on empty. The apostles had one thought: sleep. Jesus chose to pray. As Peter climbed into his sleeping bag, he mumbled, "Everyone has his own idea of a good time." In the early AM hours, the mountain top exploded as though hit by a nuclear weapon. The apostles were basket cases. Their Employer, "was transfigured before their eyes." He had removed His disguise. This was no carpenter. This was God. This was His Big Bang.
When Jesus put on a show, it was not low budget. The Big Bang must have been something spectacular. He deserved Oscar, Tony, and Emmy awards for best show on a mountain top ever.

The apostles were witnessing Moses and Elijah passing on the torch to their Leader. The Father was saying to Christ's followers, "You have been brought up to listen to Moses, Elijah, and their peers. Up to this point, they were my advance men. But now it is my Son you will listen to. He is numero uno. Him I appoint as your new Commander in Chief."

Next day Peter, James, and John came down that mountain jumping from rock to rock with the agility of boys. They were on a high. Their Jesus had proved to be a big winner. Their arduous climb in the sauna heat had paid off.

Heaven for them now would be forever spelled h-o-m-e.

We move into the second week of Lent. And, if you are off to a good start, bravo. Like His apostles, the Teacher has much to tell you at the mountain top. If you have yet to begin the climb, you can play catch-up. Jesus will toss you a rope and pull you up.

Reflect on Elizabeth Vanek: "The Transfiguration is not just an indication of Christ's divinity; it also reveals our potential to become divine." We can achieve "deification." Blow the dust off your Bible. Don't allow it to be the least read best seller of all time. Be a Bible reader, says Kenneth Woodward, and not just a Bible owner.
 
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ILLUSTRATIONS:

From Sermons.com
 
A brilliant magician was performing on an ocean liner. But every time he did a trick, the Captain's parrot would yell, "It's a trick. He's a phony. That's not magic." Then one evening during a storm, the ship sank while the magician was performing. The parrot and the magician ended up in the same lifeboat. For several days they just glared at each other, neither saying a word to the other. Finally the parrot said, "OK, I give up. What did you do with the ship?"
The parrot couldn't explain that last trick! It was too much to comprehend, even for a smart parrot. Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters-one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." Scholars over the years have tried to explain what in the world Peter meant by this suggestion. But, I think trying to find meaning to these words is pointless. It's simply the way Matthew explains: Peter was frightened and he just said the first thing that came to into his head. He simply could not comprehend what was happening.
In life, moments occur that are incomprehensible. The birth of one's own child is one of those moments. The loss of a loved one is one of those moments. September 11 was one of those moments. There are mountaintop and valley moments throughout life. We are never ready for them. They arrive unannounced changing us in irreversible ways. But there is one thing they all have in common. They demand that we be silent and listen. These moments have something to say to us, to teach us.
But too often our response is like that of Peter, babbling absurdities because we cannot understand the significant, the meaningful moment...
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When parents are trying to teach their very young children basic social skills one of the first big lessons is "Use your words." Instead of grabbing, hitting, screaming, or crying, we teach our children to communicate their needs and desires through the use of words. Instead of snatching a toy away from another child we teach our kids to say "May I please play with that for a while?" Instead of screaming and throwing a tantrum, we teach our children to say, "I'm really mad," or "He was mean to me," or "She hit me!"  
The power of our voices, the power of words, is the first power we want our children to tap into. Verbal communication is uniquely human and is a uniquely empowering gift. 
Despite all the image-based advances in technology, "The Voice" is still the driving force in electronic developments. Voice power is still the ultimate power. Every new, successful emerging technology - for the past seventy-five years -- knows that voice power means market power.  
Remember RCA? RCA famously advertised its first record player, the "Victrola," by showing the family dog with its head cocked in curiosity as it listened to a record player. The advertising tag line was, "His Master's Voice."  
The "next best thing" in the past few years has almost always been a voice-based development. We now all routinely talk to our cars...
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Nowadays the cost of a dinner and a movie keeps going up, and a vacation can be especially expensive, but if I really want to go somewhere I just take the change out of my pocket and lay it on the desk. It's like a time machine. Each coin has a year stamped on it, and just thinking about the year helps me travel back in my memory.  
1979 is the year my first son was born and the year I started in ministry. 1981 and 1983 are the years my daughter and second son were born. 1988 is the last time the Dodgers won the pennant. 1990 was when I moved to Indiana from Los Angeles. 1994 and 2004 were the years I turned forty and fifty. 2002 was when I moved to Pennsylvania. And it's getting harder to find, but any coin with 1954 is my birth year.  
I enjoy laying out the change in my pocket and just glancing at the dates. It's nice to carry these little reminders of important events, good and bad. But they're just one kind of reminder. We carry all sorts of reminders around. One of the most obvious is our date book, which we use to remind us of important events that are not in the past but in the future. We especially need a reminder for Ash Wednesday. It comes in the middle of nowhere. It's not like Christ­mas or Independence Day that fall on the same dates every year. Ash Wednesday is all over the map, from early February to some­time in March. What usually happens is that we notice someone with a smudge on their forehead and suddenly realize: was that today? Really, it's not very convenient. The least Ash Wednesday could do is fall on a Sunday.  
It is an interruption. And it's an unwelcome reminder of an unpleasant fact. Dust we are and to dust we shall return. The grass withers and the flower fades.... 
IT WAS THERE ALL ALONG

 I remember a time when I had misplaced my good pen and I was looking for it everywhere. I looked in drawers. I looked under things, behind things and in things. I looked on the floor, but it was nowhere. And then I found it. I was holding it in my mouth the whole time.

That is the way that life often is. We miss things that have been there the whole time. It is like when I was in college and my wife was on campus the whole year, but I never really saw her. Then one day, I SAW her. She had been there the whole time, but one day I actually saw her in my world. And she has been in my world ever since.

That is the story of the Transfiguration. Jesus showed his disciples a part of the world that had been there all along, but it had not really been a part of their world. They were bewildered, astonished and trembling with fear when they saw and understood that heaven was already here in their world and that Jesus was the King of heaven.
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Fr. Tony Kadavil’s Collection: 
 1:  “Lord, give me the grace for transformation.”  
The word transfiguration means a change in form or appearance. Biologists call it metamorphosis (derived from the Greek word metamorphoomai used in Matthew’s Gospel), to describe the change that occurs when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. As children we might have curiously watched the process of the caterpillar turning into a chrysalis and then bursting into a beautiful Monarch butterfly.  Fr. Anthony De Mello tells the story of such a metamorphosis in the prayer life of an old man.  “I was a revolutionary when I was young and all my prayer to God was: ‘Lord, give me the grace to change the world.’ As I approached middle age and realized that half of my life was gone without changing a single soul, I changed my prayer to: ‘Lord, give me the grace to change all those who come in contact with me; just my family and friends and I shall be satisfied.’  Now that I am old and my days are numbered, I have begun to see how foolish I have been.  My one prayer now is: ’Lord, give me the grace to change myself.’  If I had prayed for this right from the start, I should not have wasted my life.” 
2: Missing the point:  
Once upon a time, a man took his new hunting dog on a trial hunt. After a while, he managed to shoot a duck and it fell into the lake. The dog walked on the water, picked up the duck and brought it to his master. The man was stunned. He didn’t know what to think. He shot another duck and again it fell into the lake and, again, the dog walked on the water and brought it back to him. What a fantastic dog – he can walk on water and get nothing but his paws wet. The next day he asked his neighbor to go hunting with him so that he could show off his hunting dog, but he didn’t tell his neighbor anything about the dog’s ability to walk on water. As on the previous day, he shot a duck and it fell into the lake. The dog walked on the water and got it. His neighbor didn’t say a word. Several more ducks were shot that day and each time the dog walked over the water to retrieve them and each time the neighbor said nothing and neither did the owner of the dog. Finally, unable to contain himself any longer, the owner asked his neighbor, "Have you noticed anything strange, anything different about my dog?" "Yes," replied the neighbor, " come to think of it, I do. Your dog doesn’t know how to swim." The neighbor missed the point completely. He couldn’t see the wonder of a dog that could walk on water; he could only see that the dog didn’t do what other hunting dogs do to retrieve ducks – that is to swim. The disciple, Peter, was good at missing the point at the theophany of transfiguration as it is clear from his declaration: “ I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”   
3:  “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.”  
There is a mysterious story in 2 Kings that can help us understand what is happening in the transfiguration. Israel is at war with Aram, and Elisha the man of God is using his prophetic powers to reveal the strategic plans of the Aramean army to the Israelites. At first the King of Aram thinks that one of his officers is playing the spy, but when he learns the truth he dispatches troops to go and capture Elisha who is residing in Dothan. The Aramean troops move in under cover of darkness and surround the city. In the morning Elisha’s servant is the first to discover that they are surrounded and fears for his master’s safety. He runs to Elisha and says, “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” The prophet answers “Don't be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” But who would believe that when the surrounding mountainside is covered with advancing enemy troops? So Elisha prays, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the Lord opens the servant's eyes, and he looks and sees the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha (2 Kings 6:8-23). This vision was all that Elisha’s disciple needed to reassure him. At the end of the story, not only was the prophet of God safe but the invading army was totally humiliated. (Fr. Munacci)