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SPN Religon: The transfiguration
Joseph Lee L'Heureux
for South Peace News
This month in the Church we celebrate three major occasions from early Christianity that should have a great significance on our faith today.
The first is Aug. 6th, the feast of the transfiguration, the day “Jesus takes Peter, John and James up the mountain and is transfigured before them, His face shone like the sun and His clothes became dazzling white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah talking with Him.”
“Suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them and from the cloud a voice spoke, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him.”
This incident is recorded in two Gospels and witnessed by three disciples. Why? To assure us of its truth again according to scripture, on the testimony of two or three witnesses a truth will stand. Or “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
At this point Peter has already experienced his name change from Simon to Peter and has been given the “keys to the kingdom of Heaven” when he expressed his faith that Jesus is the Christ.
Obviously, Peter needed further convincing, as we often do, therefore the transfiguration. This is also when the Chair of Peter, the Pope’s throne so to speak, is given the authority to express the will of God on earth to establish the rules for the Kingdom of God on earth.
Our Second great feast in this month of August is the 15th, “The Assumption of Mary”. The feast day celebrated this week assures us, that like Mary, we too will one day be taken up into heaven, confirming that Jesus has indeed accomplished all on our behalf.
This Assumption of Mary is documented in the Gospel according to Thomas a document not found until 1948, among the Dead- Sea scrolls and among the archives of the early documents of the Church.
Mary’s appearance to St. John the Evangelist, in Revelation chapter 12 during the 1st century is a confirmation, of Mary’s assumption of body and soul into the Heavens. Why can we say and believe these Church feast days and statements?
Let’s go back to Jesus’ transfiguration and resurrection.
At the transfiguration of Jesus two heavenly people appear with Him, Moses and Elijah.
What do these two Biblical people have in common with Jesus, they were both taken up bodily into heaven: Elijah in 2nd Kings 2:11-12, and Moses as recorded in the book of Jude verse 9. Jesus appeared to his disciples eight times over forty days; Matthew 28:1-11, -16-20, Mark 16:9-19,Luke 24:1-8, 13-49, John 20:1-25) and before His recorded Ascension in Mark 16-19, Luke 24:50 and Acts 1:9-11.
It appears the common denominator for Moses and Elijah’s appearances with Jesus at the transfiguration is the fact that they still have their earthly bodies in heaven, the promised resurrection for all of us. These were before Jesus time, but Mary’s assumption is after Jesus’ resurrection, this is very important for us today, it reassures all of us who believe that we to will one day share the Heavens with Jesus, Moses, Elijah and Mary. This is also what Mary has in common with her three forerunners, according to documented history, their physical bodies are all in Heaven, therefore her possible apparitions.
Our third feast celebrated on the 5th of August by the Church, though earlier than the other two is the dedication of a Church called “Saint Mary Major.” The feast day and dedication of this Church happened after the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D.
This is when the Church officially proclaimed “Mary the Mother of God”.
This declaration came when those previous Popes and Bishops, with the Keys to the Kingdom of God came to the conclusion. “If Mary was the Mother of Jesus, and Jesus was the Christ, God incarnate, or God manifested on earth in the Body of Jesus than Mary was indeed “Mother of God.”
Mother Mary’s daily appearances these past thirty years in Medjugorje, Croatia, to six visionaries and in other locations as Japan, the U.S., Rwanda, Egypt, and in past centuries, such as Mexico, France and Portugal are only a continuation of the establishing of the Kingdom of God on Earth.
I personally know a young visionary who has seen someone transfigured, as Jesus was. This fifty-five year old person was overshadowed by light and appeared to the young visionary as someone of about seventeen or eighteen years old, but still definitely the same person. In other words a “glimpses” of a glorified body in Heaven.
Is it any wonder that when Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene and the disciples on the road to Emmaus, after his resurrection, they did not recognize Him, because they only knew him as a grown up full bearded man and not as a teenager.
This is what we are all called to, all you youth worshippers have no fear, God is as near as Mother Mary’s appearances all around us “Eye has not seen and ears have not heard the wonders that our God has prepared for us” so take heart, be strong and have faith in what others have seen and heard.