Today's Wisdom

Those who do not pass from the experience of the cross to the truth of the resurrection condemn themselves to despair! For we cannot encounter God without first crucifying our narrow notions of a god who reflects only our own understanding of omnipotence and power
Pope Francis

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Georges Farah on the Transfiguration

The feast of Transfiguration of our Lord recalls to mind the two great persons who appeared with him on the mountain: Moses and Elijah. Let us contrast the two characters. Moses was the Law maker – He experienced God’s presence at Mount Horeb in a burning bush that never extinguished its light. Moses delivered his people out of Egypt's slavery by mighty signs and gave them the Ten Commandments. Elijah, on the contrary, was the challenger of the Law. Elijah heard the Lord God and delivered his people out of another slavery: that of the false god: Baal. For this, he had to face the tyrant Ahab the king and his queen and their priests. While the Baal’s priests offered offerings to the Baal and prayed all day with no result, Elijah’s word opened heaven and fire descended at once and consumed his offering. He was the greatest prophet of Israel. Both Moses and Elijah transformed the lives of the people of God. Why did they appear and talk with Christ? Here is the question. If we go back to the event, we will find the key: Christ goes beyond the Law maker and the Prophet. The Law maker shows us the past- the Prophet shows the future. Christ is beyond both: He is the eternal one. To him, past and future are present. Eternity is beyond time. And Christ the Divine needs no time. The Law restricts (or regulates) our freedom (You shall not kill…You shall not desire your neighbour’s wife…etc.). Christ’s law goes beyond the Law- The law of Christ is perfect freedom! Christ’s law goes beyond good and evil. There are no categories for people: No one is inherently evil. Recall the healing of the man born blind. For the Jews he was born blind because of his sins or his parents’ sins. For Christ, the reason is utterly different: to make God’s wonders present in him. i.e. to show God’s love to him. Civilizations are tired with the old question of good and evil. Christ’s answer is simple: No human is evil. The more Christian values for human dignity are embedded in human laws, the closer we are to Christ’s law. In the developed world today, capital punishment has been eliminated – Why? Because people started to understand that a murderer is to be treated as a sick man not as a criminal. The Transfiguration offers us a glimpse of divinity’s light. The great light is that in spite of his impending suffering and death, Christ, the Eternal One, lives a life beyond the Law- a life of self-emptying love and joy. He teaches Israel his new law: love to the end. Do you want to start to be like Christ? Love and accept each one you encounter as he is. Treat your intimate husband or wife as you would treat a stranger with respect and dignity. Treat your children as they are with respect. They are not your slaves. They are God’s gift to you. We have nothing here that is not given to us. And receive that joy of life that the Spirit of God gives. Do this and you will experience the Transfiguration. * Based on a lecture by Fr. Georges Farah on Friday August 8, 2008 at Jesus the King Church, Toronto

Today's Quote

"Behold I make all things new." (Revelation 21:5)


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