Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Reflections for the 18th Week in Ordinary Time, Part 2

Thursday – A Glimpse of Glory

Jesus knew that His apostles had some rough times ahead. He was soon to go to the cross, and He realized that they would not understand. He anticipated their demoralization and fear and anxiety. He was aware that they would have questions and doubts. So He decided to give them a glimpse of His glory beforehand to help carry them through.

That glimpse happened at the Transfiguration. Before the stunned eyes of Peter, James, and John, Jesus revealed His divinity. The Shekinah glory cloud, a symbol of God's presence, cast its shadow over them, and voice called out, “This is My Beloved Son. Listen to Him.”

The terrified disciples didn't understand what had happened, but they did remember it, and that's what counted. The memory probably helped them through the horrors of Jesus' crucifixion and burial. They may have thought He was gone for good, but somewhere in the back of their minds, the vision of the Transfiguration remained, prodding them, challenging them to stretch their minds beyond appearances and grasp a deeper reality. 

The Transfiguration does that for us, too. It both comforts us and challenges us. It lets us know that Jesus is much more than a mere mortal man and prods us to realize and accept the implications of that reality. Spend some time today reflecting on the glimpse of glory that is the Transfiguration.

Friday – A God Like No Other

In today's first reading, Moses asks the Israelites, and us, some crucial questions to help all of us understand that our God is a God like no other. 

* Has any other group of people ever before heard the very voice of God and lived?
* Has any other “god” ever taken for himself a people and cared for them so tenderly?
* Has any other “god” ever rescue his people from slavery through signs and wonders?
* Has any other “god” ever defended his people with with such a strong arm and such amazing deeds?
* Has any other group of people witnessed the presence of God in glory?
* Has any other group of people experienced the just discipline of God?
* Has God ever revealed Himself with such power to any other people?
* Has any other group of people received their homeland directly from God?
* Has God ever become a Father to any other group of people?

The Israelites were a privileged people who had a special relationship with a God like no other, with the one-and-only God, with the God that chose them to be His nation of priests, prophets, and kings that would carry Him to the rest of the world.

We Christians are an even more privileged people. We, too, have a special relationship with God, and we know that God has revealed Himself to us like never before. Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, became Man, died for our sins, and rose again to open Heaven for us. He has chosen us to be His priests, prophets, and kings who have the task of carrying Him to the rest of the world.

Has any other group of people ever experienced such intimacy with their God?

Saturday – Faith the Size of a Mustard Seed

“Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” 

Thus says Jesus in today's Gospel. It's a sobering thought. A mustard seed is very, very tiny, perhaps a sixteenth of an inch wide. But even such a small amount of faith can call forth miracles. Unfortunately, many of us don't even have that much. We simply will not believe that God would really work miracles for us and through us. 

Spend some time in prayer today asking God to increase your faith. The Catechism tells us that faith is both a gift from God and a human response to that gift. Ask God to pour more of His gift of faith into your heart, but don't forget to ask Him to open your heart so that you may receive and embrace more of His gift of faith so that finally it will grow to the size of a mustard seed and be able to move mountains.

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