At That Time: Jesus taketh unto him Peter and James, and John his brother,
and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: and he was
transfiguredbefore them.–St. Matthew 17: 1 – 2
INSTRUCTION FOR THE SECOND SUNDAY IN LENT,
by Leonard Goffine, 1871
The Introit of this day’s Mass, which begins with the word Reminiscere, from which this Sunday derives its name, is the prayer of a soul begging God’s assistance, that she may sin no more: “Remember, O Lord, Thy bowels of compassion: and Thy mercies I that are from the beginning of the world. Let not our enemies ever rule over us: deliver us, O God of Israel, from all our distress. To thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul; in thee, O my God, I put my trust; let me not be ashamed.” (Ps. xxiv,) Glory be to the Father, &c.
PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. O God, who seest how destitute we are of all strength, preserve us both within and without, that our bodies may be free from all adversity, and our souls purified from all evil thoughts. Through our Lord, &c.
EPISTLE, (i. Thess. iv. 1-7 Brethren: We pray and beseech you in the Lord Jesus, that as you have received of us, how you ought to walk and to please God, so also you would walk, that you may abound the more. For you know what precepts I have given to you by the Lord Jesus. 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 over-reach, nor circumvent his brother in business: because the Lord is the avenger of all these things, as we have told you before, and have testified. For God hath not called us, unto uncleanness, but unto sanctification.
EXPLANATION. From these words we see, that the great Teacher of Nations as carefully showed the Christian congregations the sanctity of their calling, as he labored to lead them from the blindness and abominations of heathenism.
ASPIRATION. Grant, O God, that I may live honestly, chastely, and holily, in accordance with my vocation, and go not after earthly and carnal pleasures, as the heathens who know Thee not.
GOSPEL. (Matt. xvii. 1 – 9.) At That Time: Jesus taketh unto him Peter and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: and he was transfigured before them. And his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow. And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then Peter answering, said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. And as he was yet speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them. And lo a voice out of the cloud, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him. And the disciples hearing, fell upon their face, and were very much afraid. And Jesus came and touched them: and said to them: Arise, and be not afraid. And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one, but only Jesus. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying: Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of Man shall be risen from the dead.
Why was Christ transfigured in presence of His apostles, on Mount Tabor?
To permit them to see the glorious majesty of His divinity; to guard them from doubts when they should afterwards see Him die on Mount Calvary; to encourage because of the future glory the disciples, and with them all the faithful, to be patient in all crosses and afflictions, for the bodies of the just at the resurrection will be made like the glorified body of Christ. (Phil. iii. 21.)
Why did Moses and Elias appear there?
That they might testify, that Jesus was really the Saviour, announced by the law and the prophets, and that the law and the prophets received fulfilment in Him. The law was represented by Moses, the prophets by Elias.
Why did Peter wish to build three tabernacles there?
The delightful sweetness of the apparition in which Jesus made him participator, so enraptured him, that he knew not what he said, not considering that glory cannot be attained without labor, the crown without fight, joy without crosses and afflictions.
ASPIRATION: Draw us, O Jesus, to Thee, that by the contemplation of the sacred joys awaiting us, we may, by Thy grace, be not defeated in the spiritual contest, by the conqueror, and carry off the unfading crown of victory.