THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
Second Sunday in Lent
12 March 2017
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Jesus instructs us today, just as He instructed the Apostles so many years ago. There is a very essential doctrine that we must believe; and God and Our Holy Mother the Church have presented today's Gospel to instruct us in this truth. It was plain enough for the Apostles to see that Jesus is human. In the eyes of many they conjectured about Who Jesus is. Some said that He is the resurrected St. John the Baptist, others said that He is Elijah or one of the prophets. We, however, see that St. Peter, enlightened by God, spoke the truth: Jesus is the Son of God. (Mark 8, 27-29) We must believe that Jesus is true God and true Man. It was clear to the men of His day that He was human, what was hidden from many of them was the fact that He is God.
When St. Peter confessed the Divinity of Jesus, it became increasingly difficult for him to comprehend how God could go up to Jerusalem and suffer and die. Most men perceived the humanity of Jesus, but not His Divinity; St. Peter saw the Divinity of Jesus, but was stumbling over His humanity. St. Peter wished to enter directly into the glory of God as we can understand by his words in today's Gospel. "It is good for us to be here." He desired to make dwelling places so they could stay there, rather than go up to Jerusalem where Jesus was to suffer and die.
The beautiful reality of the hypostatic union is hard for the limited intellects of men to conceive, but it is essential to our spiritual lives that we believe. God has become Man. Jesus is true God and true Man. He is One Person, but He has two Natures. As God all of His actions have infinite value, as Man all of His actions have redemptive merit for us. His love for us brought Him to us to make the complete and perfect act of love in the Sacrifice of the Cross. He shed the last drops of His blood for us. He died so that we may live. It is, at one and the same time, a human and a divine sacrifice. There is no greater love than this sacrifice for us.
We are given today's Gospel to help us see and believe that Jesus is true God. His transfiguration did not take away any His humanity; on the contrary, the transfiguration added the glory of His divinity to His humanity. The spiritual writers tell us that this transfiguration was not a miracle but was rather the cessation of a continual miracle where Jesus hid His glory from men.
Jesus was joined by Moses and Elias so that no one could think that He was one of them that had returned. He spoke to them of His death in Jerusalem so that we would know that He willed to go there and die for us, and that He is truly human. The Holy Ghost overshadowed them with a bright cloud, and the Father spoke from the cloud giving testimony that Jesus is the Son of God. We must hear Him.
St. Jerome suggests to us that St. Peter was mistaken in desiring to build tabernacles for Jesus, Moses, and Elias to live in. God does not need physical houses to live in. The tabernacle that God wishes to live in is our very souls. In the center of our souls we should prepare a place for God to dwell. We do this by seeking and welcoming the Word of God. As we read the Gospels (the Word of God) Jesus reveals Himself to us. What we see and understand should inspire us with an ever increasing desire for more of Him. It is said that "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." We may also suggest that imitation is the sincerest form of love. As we love Jesus more and more, we logically imitate Him more and more. We welcome Him into our hearts and souls to the point where we lose ourselves in Him. St. Paul says: "It is no longer I, but Christ living within me." (Galatians 2, 19-20)
This season of Lent as we do penance, sacrifice, and mortify ourselves we are doing more than just denying ourselves, we are doing more than taking up our daily crosses. Above and beyond all this, we are making room and allowing Jesus to live within us. In a manner the hypostatic union of God and Man is made to continue within us. The Divinity is united in our humanity. We are given a supernatural life that is far above what we could imagine or ever hope for. In considering these things, we should be filled with ever increasing love and courage to continue on in this spiritual journey. As Saint John the Baptist suggests we must decrease as He increases within us. (John 3,30)
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