(in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite)
St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church
Llay Chain, Near Wrexham, LL12 0NT
Sunday 12th March 2017 at 12.30pm
Today we are shown the opposite side of this struggle – victory and glory. Jesus revealed to a few of His apostles His true honour and glory. Jesus in His glory is a most wonderful and beautiful thing to see. It was so wondrous that St. Peter desired to set up tents so that they could remain there longer.
What is necessary for us to find and keep this glorious joy?
Christ tells us: “Blessed are the pure of heart; for they shall see God”. Not everyone gets to see God in His glory. There are many that will see God but it will not be a wondrous and beautiful vision. To the damned, rather than see a wonderful and generous Father, they will see a severe and just judge meting out their eternal punishment.
If we choose to follow Jesus now along the path of Calvary by taking up our crosses daily and following Him, then we can have reasonable hope of one day seeing Him in this glorious manner. If we refuse to follow Him now with the cross, but seek only joy and pleasure here and now we can only hope to see a just and severe Judge in eternity. The choice is truly our own.
St. Paul tells us in today’s Epistle: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from fornication, that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; not in the passion of lust, like the Gentiles that know not God: and that no man overreach nor circumvent his brother in business: because the Lord is the avenger of these things, as we have told you before and have testified.”
A well ordered life is the key to finding this happiness and joy of the beatific vision. A disordered life is the key to finding the avenging God.
God wants to receive us as a loving Father; “His will is our sanctification”. The choice is truly our own. God does not force anyone to obey Him. (Forced obedience is not real obedience.) God does not force anyone to love Him. (Forced love is not real love.) God and the Church offer us every reason and incentive to love and obey God, but the choice is always left up to us.
Our Lord manifested Himself in all His glory so that we would be drawn to Him. This heavenly vision was not just for the few Apostles that went with Him up the Mountain; it was to be revealed by them after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. These apostles were to reveal this for the other apostles and the first members of the Church and for us -- the Church today. We are given the knowledge of this so that we would be enticed to live a good life; that we too may one day enjoy this heavenly vision.
The devils, and the world incite our passions to draw us away from God in the hopes of finding happiness here and now. This evil goal necessarily leads us to forget about God, because when we think of God we must necessarily see His displeasure in our evil will. The thought of a punishing God and eternal damnation will strike fear in our souls and deter us from such evil.
The fear of punishment is an imperfect reason for abstaining from evil; the love of God is a perfect reason to abstain from evil. This transfiguration of Jesus is meant to draw from us a perfect love for God and in this state it necessarily follows that we will avoid all that displeases the One whom we love.
It is this love of God that is the cure for the countless sins of our society against chastity and purity as it is for all evils. Let us think of God’s beauty and glory and strive to develop an ever increasing desire and love for Him.