Posted by: fvbcdm | June 17, 2015

Feast of Saint Teresa of Portugal (17 June 2015)

Pope [Saint] John Paul II instituted a new set of mysteries of the Rosary which he called the Luminous Mysteries. They cover the public life of Our Divine Lord, from his baptism by St. John the Baptist until his institution of the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper.

One of those luminous mysteries is the Transfiguration, which was certainly a key moment in the public life of our Savior. You recall that he took with him three of his apostles: Peter, James, and John, and went up a high mountain in Galilee—probably Mount Tabor. There something spectacular happened. Our Lord took on some of the beauty, the majesty, the glory, the magnificence which is due to him by virtue of his divinity. And there appeared with him the principal lawgiver and prophet of the Old Testament, namely Moses and Elijah. The Jewish people always spoke of “the law and the prophets” to mean the entire revelation of divine truth to them by God, and these two elements of divine truth were personified by Moses and Elijah. So here, on the crest of the mountain, Christ appears in majesty, flanked by the two greatest men of the Old Testament, and then, to cap the climax, the voice of God the Father is heard saying about Jesus: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; listen to him!”

In today’s Mass, we have in the first reading the high point in the career of the prophet Elijah and in the gospel Christ’s explanation of his view of the law. In the first reading, the Jewish prophet Elijah challenges the priests of the false god Baal to a sort of sacred duel to see whether Baal or the Lord God of Israel is the true God. The false god was able to accomplish nothing; the God of Israel sent down fire from heaven which consumed the animal of sacrifice, the wood on which it had been laid, the stones of the altar, the dirt which surrounded the altar, and even the water in the trench around the altar which Elijah had built. There could be no doubt as to which god was the true God.

Then, when Jesus speaks of the law, he says that he did not come to abolish it, but to fulfill it. You see, the Jewish people had come up with about 630 rules and regulations to “protect the law” as they said. Jesus makes it clear that all those man-made laws were not necessary and would not bind his disciples. But that didn’t mean at all that he was anti-law. Does the oak tree which grows from an acorn abolish the acorn? No; on the contrary, it is the fulfillment of the potential of the acorn, and will produce more thousands of acorns. The 630 rules of the Mosaic law are fulfilled by Christ’s law of justice, mercy and love. Let us then be sure we understand the great law of the New Testament: Love God, and love your neighbor. Upon these two, as Jesus tells us, hang all the Old Testament law and the prophets. Thank you for seeking God’s truth, God Bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago.


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