Voices ever ancient, ever new. Lent, Week 2: Sunday

“And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.” (Matthew 17:2)

Origen of Alexandria comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

“But some may ask, when he was transfigured before those who were led up by him into the lofty mountain, did he appear to them in the form of God or in the preincarnate form that he earlier had? Did he appear to those left below in the form of a servant, but to those who had followed him after the six days to the lofty mountain, did he have not the form of a servant but the form of God? Listen carefully, if you can, and at the same time be attentive spiritually. It is not simply said that he was transfigured, but with a certain necessary addition. Both Matthew and Mark have recorded this: he was transfigured before them. Is it therefore possible for Jesus to be transfigured before some but not before others?

Do you wish to see the transfiguration of Jesus? Behold with me the Jesus of the Gospels. Let him be simply apprehended. There he is beheld both “according to the flesh” and at the same time in his true divinity. He is beheld in the form of God according to our capacity for knowledge. This is how he was beheld by those who went up upon the lofty mountain to be apart with him. Meanwhile those who do not go up the mountain can still behold his works and hear his words, which are uplifting. It is before those who go up that Jesus is transfigured, and not to those below. When he is transfigured, his face shines as the sun, that he may be manifested to the children of light, who have put off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. They are no longer the children of darkness or night but have become the children of day. They walk honestly as in the day. Being manifested, he will shine to them not simply as the sun but as he is demonstrated to be, the sun of righteousness.” (Commentary on Matthew, 12)

O God, who have commanded us
to listen to your beloved Son,
be pleased, we pray,
to nourish us inwardly by your word,
that, with spiritual sight made pure,
we may rejoice to behold your glory.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen!

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