First reading: Genesis 22:1-2, 9-13, 15-18
The “Binding of Isaac” shows Abraham’s complete obedience to God
After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.”
When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.
The angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, “By myself I have sworn, says the Lord: Because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will indeed bless you, and I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of their enemies, and by your offspring shall all the nations of the earth gain blessing for themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.”
Responsorial: from Psalm 116
R./: I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living
I trusted, even when I said: ‘I am sorely afflicted.’ O precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his faithful. (R./)
Your servant, Lord, your servant am I; you have loosened my bonds. A thanksgiving sacrifice I make: I will call on the Lord’s name. (R./)
My vows to the Lord I will fulfil before all his people, in the courts of the house of the Lord, in your midst, O Jerusalem (R./)
Second reading: Romans 8:31-34
The Father’s love for us is shown by letting his Son die for our sake
What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.
Gospel: Mark 9:2-10
The apostles glimpse Christ’s glory, to sustain them through his imminent passion
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, for they were terrified.
Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead could mean.
Jesus was transformed into a form that nothing on earth could make dirty. It was a form that we can call heavenly. We also see that He was communicating with Elijah and Moses, people we know are in heaven.
So, why was the transfiguration important to Jesus and to the apostles?
God Himself took the form of man and came down to earth as His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. So, after Jesus began to gather His disciples for His ministry, He performed many miracles in front of them and the disciples also performed miracles in His name. He told them that He was the Messiah and that He came from God.
But three years into the ministry He told them that He will be persecuted and will die but Peter said that they would not let that happen. Jesus was upset and told Peter that he is thinking like an earthly man and not of what is heavenly. So, Jesus had to manifest Himself to a form that He was, He is and will always be because He is really God, so that the disciples could finally believe that He really is God and not a mortal man.
This is why during the transfiguration, a cloud came, casting a shadow over them and from the cloud came a voice, ‘This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.’ God Himself reassured the apostles that Jesus was indeed His beloved Son whom He had sent down to earth and that they should listen to Him. God told them to stop losing faith and hope in Jesus just because He had told then that He would die.
The statement by Jesus that He will die made the disciples to start wondering if He really was the Messiah. But because the word of the prophets had to be fulfilled, He had to die but still He had to prove that He was God.
After this powerful transfiguration they all descended to the bottom of the mountain and found the rest trying, but in vain, to drive out a demon out of a man. Jesus confirms their wavering faith in Him by telling them that their dwindling faith is the cause of their inability to drive out demons.
Let us therefore have an unwavering faith in Jesus because we are lucky to know that He is indeed the Messiah who came to save us from our sins.
A reflection from Catholic Daily Readings