From the Transfiguration to the Cross to the Resurrection

Homily for Second Sunday of Lent (Year A)
March 7-8, 2020
Sacred Heart, EGF – Saturday 5:00 PM; Sunday 8:00 am
Holy Trinity, Tabor – Sunday 10:00 AM

Focus:             From the Transfiguration to the Cross to the Resurrection
Function:       Remember what God has done so as to strengthen your hope in what God will do.


Transfiguration_Raphael

The Transfiguration
Raphael, c. 1520

[This homily was preached in front of the altar with movement.
1 – standing to the left of the altar
2 – standing in front of the altar and under the crucifix
3 – standing to the right of the altar]


1 – From dusk
2 – to darkness
3 – to dawn

1 – From sunset
2 – to night
3 – to sunrise

1 – From health
2 – to suffering/death
3 – to eternal life

1 – From the Transfiguration
2 – to the Cross
3 – to the Resurrection

1 – Two prophets, Moses and Elijah, flank him in his glory.
2 – Two criminals flank him in his humiliation.[i]
3 – Two women, Mary and the other Mary, flank him at the empty tomb.

1 – From the Transfiguration
2 – to the Cross
3 – to the Resurrection

1 – His garments glisten in the light radiating from his face.
2 – His garments torn as darkness covers the land at 3:00 in the afternoon.[ii] 
3 – His garments, the burial cloths, laid aside in the empty tomb.

1 – From the Transfiguration
2 – to the Cross
3 – to the Resurrection

The Transfiguration and the Cross are inexorably linked.[iii]  An ancient holds that the Transfiguration took place 40 days before Good Friday.

We hear the story of the Transfiguration twice each year.

The first time is today:
1 – the Second Sunday of Lent, approximately 40 days before
2 – Good Friday.

The second time is on August 6th:
1 – the Feast of the Transfiguration, which is 40 days before
2 – the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.

1 – From glory
2 – to anguish
3 – to glory

1 – From the Transfiguration
2 – to the Cross
3 – to the Resurrection

The book of Sirach, chapter 11:
The day of prosperity makes one forget adversity;
the day of adversity makes one forget prosperity.

Leo the Great:
The great reason for this transfiguration was to remove the scandal of the cross from the hearts of his disciples, and to prevent the humiliation of his voluntary suffering from disturbing the faith of those who had witnessed the surpassing glory that lay concealed.

We, as members of that same body, the Body of Christ, are to look forward to a share in that glory which first blazed out in Christ our Head.[iv] 

We often see this pattern in our own lives.

1 – We glimpse the glory before the suffering,
and the glimpsed glory helps us to
2 – bear our share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from Christ.

1 – Many of us are secure now. Things are going well.
2 – The Cross will come. We might be tempted to despair. When it comes, remember the glory you’ve glimpsed in the present,
3 – and remember that God will lead you through it.

2 – Some of us are in a period of darkness now.  You are standing at the Cross.
1 – Remember what God has done,
3 – so as to strengthen your hope in what God will do.

Lent prepares us to carry our Cross when it comes. It trains us for the sufferings that will come in life. When it comes, look for his glory to be revealed.

The glory of Christ:
in whom we live,
in whom we move,
in whom we suffer,
in whom we rise,
in whom we shine forth like the sun in the Kingdom of our Father.

The Transfiguration is given to us today to remind us of this truth:
The sufferings of the present are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed in us.
The suffering of the Cross leads to the glory of the Resurrection.

Remember times of prosperity in times of adversity.
Remember times of adversity in times of prosperity.

1 – The Transfiguration leads to
2 – Good Friday, but Good Friday
3 – leads to Easter Sunday.

We now come to the Eucharist.

His glory hidden in the form of bread and wine, now revealed to the hearts of those who believe.

For a moment we bask in his glory.

1 – May the glory of this Eucharist lead us
2 – through the sufferings of this life
3 – and into the glory of an eternal Easter.


[i] Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri, Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture: The Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2010), 218.
{Quoting William Davies and Dale Allison, The Gospel according to Saint Matthew (ICC.  Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1988)}.

[ii] Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri, Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture: The Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2010), 218.
{Quoting William Davies and Dale Allison, The Gospel according to Saint Matthew (ICC.  Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1988)}.

[iii] Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), Jesus of Nazareth (New York: Doubleday, 2007), 305-318.

[iv] Leo the Great, Sermon 51 in the Office of Readings for Second Sunday of Lent (Liturgy of the Hours).