Sunday, February 28, 2010

Heavenly Citizenship

Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray. While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white.And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.

Before I write about my thoughts on the Transfiguration note that before this event happened Jesus took his closest disciples up to the mountain to pray. You will also note that before he selected his disciples Jesus prayed, and of course he prayed at the Garden of Gethsemane. Prayer is a poison to pride. In praying Jesus is showing us to connect with the Father so that we can have understanding, wisdom, humility, strength, patience, faith, and thanksgiving. True prayer comes from the depth of your heart and kindles the flame of the Holy Spirit, who is the bearer of those spiritual gifts.

The Church shows us today in the Gospel reading from Luke, Chapter 9, a glimpse of what God's glory is and thus a glimpse of heaven. If you back up in the Gospel of Luke you will read two paragraphs back, Peter's declaration that Jesus is the Christ. In the next paragraph after that acknowledgment, Jesus now tells his disciples what is necessary to follow him:" If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up the cross daily and follow me," then follows the the Transfiguration. Now reading all three in order Luke presents to us this: Jesus is the Christ, the Saviour, the Redeemer. In order to follow him we must deny ourselves, that is deny the attachment to the world's things, and take on the weight of our own crosses, in the sufferings that accompany living the life of the Beatitudes. Finally, we see what it is to see heaven, in the witness of God's glory at the mountain top, what will be our own crowning glory united with Christ and the Church in eternity. That is why St. Paul writes in the 2nd Reading in his Letter to the Philippians : Brothers and sisters :Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body by the power that enables him also to bring all things into subjection to himself.

The crosses that we bear in serving others with the love of Christ that emanates from the center of heart, is what identifies us in gaining heavenly citizenship.

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