READINGS for 2008-08-06

Didache | Companion | Sabbath


Feast of the transfiguration of the lord

“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.” – Matthew 17:5
Focal point is that part of the painting that catches the eyes first. The observer’s eyes should be drawn to it naturally. It may not necessarily be the object placed at the center but it should be the center of interest, thus, the main subject. Still, it’s such an effort for me to identify a painting’s focal point. It’s because I tend to be awed and distracted by other elements of art in the canvas.
Jesus is supposed to be our life’s focal point. But many times, our hearts wander off to distractions that complicate our life situations. We allow our lives to be dictated more by the standards set by other people and our focus on Christ is sidetracked in oblivion, thus, we miss the most important element of life — that which is centered on Christ.
Friends, whatever is missing in your life, Jesus Christ can fill that void. That’s what He came to do. Open your eyes and see clearly. See Christ in all His glory! Jane Gonzales
How long has it been since you made Christ the center of your thoughts and consciousness?
Dear Jesus, take my mind off the distractions and let me focus on what is truly important in life. Amen.


Sometimes I think we have lost the sense of the transcendent in the Church today. There has been so much emphasis on making things relevant and understandable to the faithful that we have lost the idea of God’s total otherness. I am not saying we need to go back to Latin Masses and such, but that within the liturgical reforms of Vatican II, we need to find room for an understanding of God’s transcendence. Without this, our faith will become banal and ordinary and lose the sense of wonder and awe it should have.
Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
9 As I watched: Thrones were set up and the Ancient One took his throne. His clothing was snow bright, and the hair on his head as white as wool; His throne was flames of fire, with wheels of burning fire. 10 A surging stream of fire flowed out from where he sat; Thousands upon thousands were ministering to him, and myriads upon myriads attended him. The court was convened, and the books were opened. 13 As the visions during the night continued, I saw One like a son of man coming on the clouds of heaven; When he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him, 14 He received dominion, glory, and kingship; nations and peoples of every language serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.
Psalm 97:1-2, 5-6, 9
R: The Lord is king, the most high over all the earth.
1 The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice; let the many isles be glad. 2 Clouds and darkness are round about him, justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne. (R) 5 The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth. 6 The heavens proclaim his justice, and all peoples see his glory. (R) 9 Because you, O LORD, are the Most High over all the earth, exalted far above all gods. (R)
Peter remembers his experience on Mt. Tabor and recounts something of it here. It is clear in the text that he remembers the event with awe and wonder. It must have been a life-changing experience for Peter and James and John. One of the reasons I like to read and listen to conversion experiences of others is that they inspire me and remind me of the power of God to change lives. This is what our transcendent God can do.
2 Peter 1:16-19
16 Beloved: We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that unique declaration came to him from the majestic glory, “This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” 18 We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 Moreover, we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
The Father confirms Jesus’ Sonship and in so doing affirms His pleasure in what Jesus is doing. This is what every boy needs to hear from his father, namely, that he has what it takes to stand up in the world and be a man. Fathers have this critical role in the lives of their sons. No one can do it as well as they. If a father fails to mentor his son into manhood, there will always be something lost in a boy’s life. His mother cannot do it and other significant men can only do it partly – it is the father who has this responsibility.
Matthew 17:1-9
1 Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. 3 And behold,Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him. 4 Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” 8 And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone. 9 As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, “Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
my reflections
think:There has been so much emphasis on making things relevant and understandable to the faithful that we have lost the idea of God’s total otherness. We need to find room for an understanding of God’s transcendence.

God’s special verse/thought for me today________________

Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
PoPe hyginuS
The second century Pope Hyginus led the Vatican from A.D. 138 – 140. In the two years of his papacy, the pope instituted godparents at baptism to guide the newly born throughout his Christian life. He determined the various options of the clergy as well as clarified the grades of the ecclesiastical hierarchy.
Though no records support the claim, it is believed that Pope Hyginus died a martyr under the persecution of Marcus Aurelius.
Saint tatiana
Saint Tatiana belonged to a prominent family. She was a deaconess in the Church and a servant to the poor. She was led to martyrdom by the wicked advisors of Emperor Alexander.
Saint Tatiana prayed for her executioners ; thus, prior to the execution, they saw four angels around her. Eight of them were immediately converted in faith, leading them to be tortured and killed. Those who remained non-believers tortured her more, inflicting a more painful death. They whipped her and cut body parts off, even sawing her with an iron saw. But each night, it is believed that angels visited her, healing her wounds. Thus, the next day she would appear unharmed.
This caused her torturers to become more enraged. She was thrown to a lion, but the animal acted like a gentle house pet. They cut her hair thinking that there could be magical power in it. Until finally, she was led out and beheaded. Saint Tatiana laid to rest in A.D. 225 in Rome.
Saint aRcadiuS of mauRetania
During the late third century, Christians in the Roman Empire were viciously persecuted. Thus, in order to avoid worshipping idols, Arcadius of Mauretania hid in the countryside. Not long after, his absence was noticed by his persecutors. They seized one of his relatives and threatened him so to reveal the whereabouts of Arcadius. The saint didn’t want others to suffer in his place so he freely submitted himself. His relative was set free and he, too, was offered his freedom, provided he would offer a sacrifice to the gods. When Arcadius refused, the judge decided to persecute him in a way the saint would wish for his death.
Instead of being beheaded, like the fate of other Christian martyrs, the limbs of Arcadius were cut off, joint by joint. In his pain, the saint’s only response was “Lord, teach me Your wisdom.” When all that remained were his trunk and head, Arcadius was still able to speak, uttering the words “You are happy, my members. Now you really belong to God. You have all been sacrificed to Him.”
Saint Arcadius of Mauretania died in 302 A.D.


dEad-End Or liFE-bEnd?
Mountains can be dead-ends or life-bends. As dead-ends, mountains block our sight and hinder us from moving on. As life-bends, mountains mean better view and pushing further.
Jesus always considered mountains as life-bends Him. He did not stop at the foot of any mountain, curse it, and say, “If only this mountain is not here I would be able to move on.” Instead, Jesus climbed every mountain,   often praying on top of it and then continuing in His journey to accomplish what He was sent to do. Today, He conquered another mountain: Mount Tabor.
With His closest among the Twelve, Jesus went on top of Mount Tabor. While absorbed in prayer, He was transfigured before their very eyes. His clothes shone dazzlingly white. Then suddenly appeared Moses and Elijah, conversing with Him. Simon Peter could not contain his excitement and blurted out, “Rabbi, it is good to be here; so let us make three tents, one for You, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” Then a voice was heard from the cloud saying, “This is My Son, the Beloved. Listen to Him.” Then, as sudden as it came upon them, the experience ended.
It all happened on top of a mountain, on top of what the three disciples could have considered a dead-end and a hindrance to moving on. They would go where Jesus goes. To the top of Mount Tabor, Jesus went; thus, to the top of Mount Tabor, they went with Him. There they experienced the divinity of Jesus in a way the others did not. The mountain, however, was not meant to be their permanent address with Jesus. It was an important part of their journey, but, still, just a part. They had to move on, certain about the real identity of the One who led the way. They had to face with Jesus the road that leads to Calvary.
That mountain was not a dead-end after all. It was an important bend along the way. Fr. Bobby Titco
Reflection Question:
How we look at mountains in life depends on us: deadends or life-bends.
I will go wherever You go, Jesus. I will go with You to the top of every mountain in my life. Hold my hand steadily because I easily trip and fall. Bless me with the grace of conquering  my mountains in life with You. Make every mountain before me a life-bend, not a dead-end. Amen.
St. Agapitus, martyr and deacon, pray for us.

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