Malankara World Journal
Malankara World Journal

Transfiguration Feast Special

Volume 2 No. 88 August 2, 2012

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Family and Youth Conference of MASOC - Heritage Procession.
Family and Youth Conference of the Malankara Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church in North America was held from July 26-29 in Emmitsburg, MD.

The conference was well organized and attended with 3 days of jam packed programs - devotional and bible studies based on Romans 12:12, VBS for children, Breakout sessions for the youth led by two scholars from Coptic Orthodox Church, two nights of cultural programs, meetings of spiritual organizations, clergy and baskyomo meetings, sports, a professional entertainment program titled Comedy Talkies Mega Show, a very colorful Heritage Procession, and more. The highlight of the program was the Holy Qurbono conducted at the serene and colorful cathedral co-celebrated by H.G. Thomas Mor Theemothios, H.E. Markose Mor Chrisostomos, and H.E. Yeldho Mor Theethose assisted by the priests and deacons of the archdiocese. Especially noteworthy was the "choir group" led by Rev. Fr. Joy John, Rev. Fr. Varghese Paul and Rev. Fr. Saji Kuriakose. It was three days of serene peace and spirituality (Themothios thirumeni will call this pure bliss) capped by the partaking in the mysteries of the Holy Qurbano that provided nourishment to the mind, body and spirit. We offer our congratulations to HE Yeldho Mor Theethose, Archbishop of MASOC, and the Diocesan Council for organizing this great event.

The cover photo shows the Heritage Procession. We will have more "Family Conference Moments" in the future editions of Malankara World Journal.

Table of Contents
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Shunoyo Lent Begins on Friday, August 10

1. Bible Readings for This Week

Sunday, August 5 - Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
Monday, August 6 - Transfiguration/Koodaara Perunnal

2. Sermons for This Week

Sunday, August 5 - Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

    http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/Sermons/Sermon-of-the-week_10th-sunday-after-Pentecost.htm

Monday, August 6 - Transfiguration/Koodaara Perunnal

http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/Sermons/Sermon-of-the-week_Transfiguration.htm

3. The Feast of Transfiguration

The Feast of the Transfiguration commemorates one of the pinnacles of Jesus' earthly life, when he revealed his divinity to three of his closest disciples by means of a miraculous and supernatural light. ...

4. Featured: Fear of Light

When Peter, James and John saw the glory of the Lord on Mount Tabor they did not run away but desired to stay and build three tents. As they saw Jesus transfigured before them they saw not only his glory, but also his mercy and love. If we meet him in the confessional, we, too, will see his mercy and love and will say with Peter, "Rabbi, it is good that we are here" (Mark 9:5). ...

5. Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration

In a way, there is a parallel between the experience of the disciples on this mountain (transfiguration) and our experience at public worship. Both are occasions of getting fresh understanding of who Jesus is and meeting with him in a special way. Perhaps there are lessons to learn from this incident that should mark all our gatherings in his presence. But it is encouraging to note that the experience of the disciples on the mountain followed their confession of Jesus as Lord, and so we having confessed him as Lord in our times of worship can anticipate receiving further insight from him as a consequence. ...

6. They Saw His Glory!

We sometimes hear people say, If only God would do something spectacular.. or even just something special.. I would believe in Him. Well, sometimes He does.

He did something like this for Peter, James and John. They were very privileged men. They were present when Jesus healed the daughter of Jairus, they witnessed the agony of Jesus in Gethsemane, and they were privileged to see and hear amazing things on a mountaintop. ...

7. The Feast of the Transfiguration in the Western-Syrian Tradition

In the Western-Syrian tradition, the great feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord highlights with beautiful images the divinity of Christ manifested through his humanity. ...

8. Poem: Transfigured

We went up the mountain with Jesus,
but quite unprepared for surprise.
We never expected to see him
transform right in front of our eyes! ...

9. In The Shadow of Mount Tabor

So what of our hearts here at the foot of this Mass? Do we see the majestic, the beautiful, the otherworldly Christ? If we have not yet met Jesus in such a way, if we have not met Jesus in a way that calls to us in the very depths of our souls, we must act. We must begin to live with Jesus, to talk with Jesus, to listen to Jesus in new ways. We must seek the face Jesus in the Sacraments- in confession and the Sunday Mass. We must ask Jesus to break through the deafness, to shine through the blindness of sin so that we may hear and see and be moved. ...

10. Health: With Cancer, Patients Are First Line of Defense

Often, it's not cancer that kills; it's the complications of cancer, says physician Stephen Garrett Marcus, a senior biotechnology research executive. Complications are common and become more frequent and severe if cancer progresses or spreads, he says. Spotting them early and treating them quickly can lessen their impact and save lives. ...

11. Recipe: Courageous Cabbage Soup

Served with a big salad, this soup makes for an interesting and filling evening meal. ...

12. Family Special: A Child's Place

Most of us wish lots of things for our kids. And often, particularly with Christian parents, knowing our children have a healthy relationship with God is somewhere on the list. Here's a hard truth for parents to swallow. You cannot guarantee that your children will become followers of Jesus Christ. And there is nothing you can do to guarantee that they will. But there are some things that you could do to guarantee that they won't. ...

13. Humor: Secret to Happy Marriage

14. About Malankara World

This Week in Church
Transfiguration Feast is on Monday, August 6.
Shunoyo Lent Begins on Friday, August 10.
Shunoyo (Assumption) is on August 15.
Bible Readings for This Week

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost (5th August)

Evening

Morning

Before Holy Qurbana

Holy Qurbana

The Festival of Transfiguration/Koodaara Perunnal (6th August)

Evening

Morning

Before Holy Qurbana

Holy Qurbana

Sermons for This Week
This Week's Features

The Feast of Transfiguration

The Feast of the Transfiguration commemorates one of the pinnacles of Jesus' earthly life, when he revealed his divinity to three of his closest disciples by means of a miraculous and supernatural light.

Before his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Christ climbed to a high point on Mount Tabor with his disciples Peter, James, and John. While Jesus prayed upon the mountain, his appearance was changed by a brilliant white light which shone from him and from his clothing.

During this event, the Old Testament figures of Moses and the prophet Elijah also appeared, and spoke of how Christ would suffer and die after entering Jerusalem, before his resurrection.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record that the voice of God was heard, confirming Jesus as his son (Matthew 17:5, Mark 9:6, Luke 9:35). Peter and John make specific reference to the event in their writings, as confirming Jesus' divinity and his status as the Messiah (2 Peter 1:17, John 1:14).

In his address on August 6, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI described how the events of the transfiguration display Christ as the "full manifestation of God's light."

This light, which shines forth from Christ both at the transfiguration and after his resurrection, is ultimately triumphant over "the power of the darkness of evil."

The Pope stressed that the feast of the Transfiguration is an important opportunity for believers to look to Christ as "the light of the world," and to experience the kind of conversion which the Bible frequently describes as an emergence from darkness to light.

"In our time too," Pope Benedict said, "we urgently need to emerge from the darkness of evil, to experience the joy of the children of light!"

Eastern Christianity emphasizes that Christ's transfiguration is the prototype of spiritual illumination, which is possible for the committed disciple of Jesus. This Christian form of "enlightenment" is facilitated by the ascetic disciplines of prayer, fasting, and charitable almsgiving.

Source: CNA

Featured: Fear of Light

by Fr. Daren J. Zehnle

Today, dear brothers and sisters, we are told that Peter "hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified" (Mark 9:6). What is it that the Apostles feared? They feared the very thing that also filled them with a great enthusiasm and a desire to make three tents (cf. Mark 9:5). Their fear left them all but speechless, even as it filled them with a desire to remain there in the presence of the glorified Lord.

If we examine the Scriptures, we will see that "light is a sign that reveals something of God: it is, as it were, a reflection of his glory which accompanies its manifestations. When God appears, 'His brightness was like the light, rays flashed from his hand' (Habakkuk 3:4)."[1]

Mark tells us that Jesus' garments "became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them" (Mark 9:3) and Matthew tells us that they "became white as light" (Matthew 17:2). If we consider the words the Psalmist sings to the Lord, "You are clothed with honor and majesty, [you] who cover yourself with light as with a garment," the symbolism is clear: Jesus is God. The words Peter addressed to Jesus only a few days earlier are true: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16). For this reason we acknowledge him in the Creed as "the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father.

There is something about light that both draws us and gives us pause. If we find ourselves in a dark tunnel we are drawn toward the light at the end, and yet when we emerge into the full light of day we draw back slightly because the light hurts our eyes. So it is with Christ, the true "light of the world" (John 9:5). The glory of the light that radiated from Christ engendered in Peter a holy fear, as it should with us.

When Peter beheld the glory, the light, of the Lord, he must surely have recalled those initial words he addressed to Jesus as he fell to his knees by the lake of Gennesaret: "Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man" (Luke 5:8). Is it not the same with us? The radiant beauty of the Lord's light draws us toward him, yet we draw back in fear of our sinfulness, though he says to us always, as he said to Peter, "Do not be afraid" (Luke 5:10); "Come to me" (Matthew 11:28).

There is nothing to fear in Jesus Christ, in him whom the Father did not spare, but handed over for us all (cf. Romans 8:28). He has come to loose our bonds through his death and resurrection, to break the shackles of sin of death (cf. Psalm 116:16). If we "call upon the name of the Lord" confessing our sins, he will give us his mercy and forgiveness (Psalm 116:17).

When Jesus first called Peter, the fisherman abandoned everything and followed him because, with the Psalmist, Peter said, "My heart has prompted me to seek your face; I seek it, Lord; do not hide from me" (Psalm 26:8-9). When he saw his face and heard his voice, Peter said, "O Lord, I am your servant" (Psalm 116:16). These words we, too, must say; in fact, we have already said them.

In the waters of Baptism, we were united with Jesus' passion, "the purification that restores to us the original garment lost through our sin (cf. Luke 15:22)."[2] Indeed, through Baptism "we are clothed with Jesus in light and we ourselves become light."[3]

But we also know that our light does not always shine as brightly as it should and that our garments are not as white as they once were; we know that we are sinners. It is precisely for this reason that we must seek the face of God and heed the command of the Father: "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him" (Mark 9:7). But where are to seek him and hear his voice?

We will always find him the Sacrament of Penance, of Confession, of Reconciliation. Many today are afraid of this great gift the Lord has given to his Church. Many fear naming their sins and others find it difficult to believe that Jesus could forgive them. My friends, let us hear again the words of Saint Paul: "He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything along with him" (Romans 8:28)? God's mercy is like the waters of a floodgate waiting to be opened and poured out. All it takes to release these waters is our confession, made honestly, sincerely and in integrity of heart.

Pope Benedict XVI reminds us, "It is not sin which is at the heart of the sacramental celebration but rather God's mercy, which is infinitely greater than any guilt of ours."[4]

Is your heart filled with peace? If you are at peace, then come and receive the Lord's mercy that you may remain at peace. If you are not at peace, then come to the Sacrament of God's mercy and to be given peace, that your garment may be restored to its original brightness. Yes, my brothers and sisters, seek the face of the Lord in the Sacrament of Reconciliation! "We can be healed. Souls that are wounded and ill, as everyone knows by experience, not only need advice but true renewal, which can only come from God's power, from the power of Crucified Love," the power revealed in the Transfiguration.[5]

Are we not drawn toward the Sacrament of Penance – does not something about it seem right and necessary – even as we are afraid of it? Do not let your fear keep you from receiving his mercy!

When Peter, James and John saw the glory of the Lord on Mount Tabor they did not run away but desired to stay and build three tents. As they saw Jesus transfigured before them they saw not only his glory, but also his mercy and love. If we meet him in the confessional, we, too, will see his mercy and love and will say with Peter, "Rabbi, it is good that we are here" (Mark 9:5). Amen.

References:

[1] Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus Address, 6 August 2006.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid., 311.
[4] Ibid., Address to the Course on the Internal Forum, 7 March 2008.
[5] Ibid., Address to the Clergy of Rome, 7 February 2008.

 Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration

by Malcolm Maclean

Scripture: Luke 9:27-36

A theologian called Brentius has commented on this event (transfiguration) as follows:

'No synod on earth was ever more gloriously attended than this. No assembly was ever more illustrious. Here is God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost. Here are Moses and Elijah, the chief of the prophets. Here are Peter, James and John, the chief of the apostles.'

The event described by Luke here is one that made a deep impression upon Peter. Undoubtedly we could say this about many of the experiences that Peter went through in the company of Jesus. Yet he does refer to this incident in 2 Peter 1:16-18:

'For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honour and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased," we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.'

So years later, Peter wrote about what had taken place and did so in a way that makes very clear he had never lost his sense of wonder at what he had seen and heard.

Sometimes suggestions are given as how to divide up the three years of Jesus' ministry. James Stalker, in his Life of Jesus, divides it into:

(a) the year of obscurity,
(b) the year of popularity, and
c) the year of opposition.

It has also been suggested that it can be divided by the times the Father spoke from heaven. The first time occurred when Jesus was baptised, the second on this mountain, and the third on his last journey to Jerusalem (John 12:27-28). With this division, the first occasion begins the period when Jesus spoke to the nation, the second occasion when he began to teach his disciples about his death, and the third occasion was a direct assurance for Jesus as he neared the cross.

This incident follows on from the one where Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. His confession was a true one, although it is likely that he did not fully understand what he was saying. Connected to that incident was Peter's refusal to accept that Jesus would voluntarily die; imagine his surprise when he heard Moses and Elijah speaking about that death and calling it an exodus, indicating that it would be a death that would result in deliverance from slavery, that it would be an achievement and not a disaster.

This incident can be approached from many angles. For example, it reminds us that we are not really aware of the glory of which the human body is capable. Connected to this is the splendour of the resurrection body displayed in the fact that Moses and Elijah appeared in glory, that their resurrected state is one of great glory. We are going to be glorified. And we are going to be glorified individually without losing our own identities, as is very clear from the way that Moses and Elijah were easily identified.

A detail that stands out in the story is the fact that only three disciples were invited by Jesus to observe his transfiguration. This was not the only occasion when these three were so privileged: they also were with him when he raised Jairus' daughter from the dead and they were near to him physically during his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. It would be possible to suggest from this that Jesus sovereignly gives special privileges to particular disciples, and no doubt that is the case. Yet it may be the case that the reason for them having this privilege was that they showed greater desire to be near to Jesus. Although Peter's responses to Jesus were often inappropriate, they did reveal an earnest desire to be with Jesus; although the request given by James and John on another occasion to sit beside Jesus in his kingdom was a wrong one, it did indicate that they wanted to be with him.

In a way, there is a parallel between the experience of the disciples on this mountain and our experience at public worship. Both are occasions of getting fresh understanding of who Jesus is and meeting with him in a special way. Perhaps there are lessons to learn from this incident that should mark all our gatherings in his presence. But it is encouraging to note that the experience of the disciples on the mountain followed their confession of Jesus as Lord, and so we having confessed him as Lord in our times of worship can anticipate receiving further insight from him as a consequence.

1. The Transfiguration and Jesus

Evidently, this occasion was one of great significance for Jesus. It was anticipated by him – he had previously informed his disciples that it would happen in a few days' time. Further he prepared for it by prayer, which was how he reacted beforehand to all circumstances he faced. Although we have no way of understanding the nature of communion that the sinless Jesus, even in his human nature, had with his heavenly Father it is very striking that he prepared for this heavenly experience by prayer. This is a challenge to us as we prepare for what is ahead of us.

This event is known as the transfiguration. The Greek word is the one from which we get the term metamorphosis, that is, a great change such as happens when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. In order to appreciate something of the wonder of this event, we have to remember that Jesus did not look very different from others. There is no hint in the Gospels that he had a striking physical presence. In one way this would be a reason why many had no desire to follow him; his ordinariness was what marked him. On the other hand Moses, who had experienced something like a transfiguration after spending time in the presence of God, was a leader and a man with a striking appearance. Stephen in Acts 7:22 describes the impression that Moses gave before he rejoined the Israelites: 'And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds.' Elijah, too, was also an imposing leader, one who was usually fearless and prominent in fulfilling his role.

This great change in the appearance of Jesus came from within. This was a marked difference from what had happened to Moses. The glory that Moses displayed at Mount Sinai was a reflection of the glory of God, but Moses was not the source of it. Jesus did not receive this glory from outside of himself, as it were. We can put it this way. The glory that Moses experienced was like the light of the moon, which comes from the sun; the glory that Jesus experienced was like that of the sun, belonging to himself.

It is not clear whether this display of glory was the outshining of the deity of Jesus or the outshining of the Holy Spirit who indwelt his humanity. The first view is often found in older writers and many of them suggest that his humanity was a veil that usually hid his divine glory from sight, except for this occasion. The difficulty with this suggestion is that the divine glory is invisible. In favour of the second view is the suggestion that here we have a foretaste of the glory that would be given to Jesus when he ascended to heaven, when the kingdom of God would come in power. The sight that these disciples had is the same as all believers will have when they see Jesus at his second coming, a sight that will transfigure them because when they shall see him they shall be like him (1 John 3:1-2).

The heavenly visitors were also prominent in the sense that they pictured what the Old Testament is about. Moses represents the law and Elijah the prophets. They had been used by God to give divine revelation and instruction to his people. Yet they are here confessing before the three disciples, devout Jews, that Jesus was the One about whom they spoke. Peter was learning that Jesus was different in his authority.

Perhaps we can see another way by which these two men highlight the distinctiveness of Jesus when we consider their exoduses from the world. Moses had that beautiful demise on Mount Pisgah when the Lord kissed his breath away and took him to heaven. Elijah had a spectacular exit when he ascended in a chariot of fire to glory. But their exoduses did nothing for other people. In contrast, the exodus of Jesus was to bring great blessing to others because his death was going to be the means of delivering millions from their sins and his resurrection and ascension would be his going ahead of his people leading them through the wilderness to the promised land of heaven.

There is another way in which the heavenly visitors contrast with Jesus. Both of them had their moment of importance on a mountain. Moses had received the ten commandments and other matters from God on Mount Sinai, but when he came down the mountain he found the people, his disciples as it were, in rebellion and worshipping a golden calf. Elijah had defeated the prophets of Baal and slew them, but when he came down the mountain his main enemy Jezebel was still on the throne and he fled miles away to the Sinai desert. Jesus, when he came down from this mountain, faced his enemy head on and in a sign of what he was yet to do in empowering his disciples and defeating the devil he cast the evil spirit out of the boy.

The fact that Jesus revealed his glory before he died shows that he could have become a glorified man at any stage in his earthly experience. But that he chose to go to glory via the cross shows the strength of his love for his people. He wanted to pay the price for their sins before he would enter into the permanency of glorification.

2. The Transfiguration and Peter

Likely it was night-time when this incident occurred, which adds extra significance to the comment that the face of Jesus shone as the sun. It also explains why the disciples were tired, especially after the climb up the mountainside.

In addition to their physical weakness, we can also note their spiritual failure. This failure is seen in Peter's request that he build dwelling-places for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. In some ways, his request contains good elements: he obviously enjoyed the experience and he wanted it to continue, and he was offering to serve by making the three structures. At the same time his request suggested an unwillingness to leave the mountain despite the fact that his fellow-disciples were not with them and would need to be told, at some stage, of what they had seen.

There is also the problem that he was putting Moses and Elijah on the same level as Jesus. Perhaps this is the reason that the Shekinah glory enveloped them. Moses had entered the cloud on Mount Sinai but he could not guarantee the safety of anyone else that he might wish to take there. It was different with Jesus: he could safely take Peter and his friends into the very presence of God.

A third possible aspect of failure on Peter's part is that he still seems determined that Jesus should not die. From listening to heaven's representatives earnestly discussing the events of Calvary, he should have understood that the attention of heaven was focused on the death of Jesus. This discussion was a rebuke to Peter of his previous insistence that Jesus could not die.

I suppose we can make similar mistakes. We can want a time of blessing to last and we forget that we have to move on from it and help others who were not privileged to share it. We can be in danger of giving to believers in heaven the position that should be only given to Jesus. We are not to demean them, but neither are we to deify them. In any case, Peter's response illustrates that we can make inappropriate comments in the most profound of circumstances.

There is another lesson that Peter should have learned and this one is connected specifically to his leadership role. He had observed Moses and Elijah giving the superior place to Jesus. In a sense, they were leaders of God's people like Peter was. Peter learned that Jesus was superior to all religious leaders. He himself was to be a leader in the church and he learned here that as leader he was to point others to the person and work of Jesus.

But I would suggest that the two best lessons that Peter learned were about Jesus. First, he learned that Jesus was the same after this experience as he was before. He came to them and touched them, telling them not to be afraid (Matt. 17:7). Many times he had told them not to be afraid. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. The apostle John, many years later, enjoyed another display of the glory of Jesus. In Revelation 1 he describes what he saw, and mentions the effect it had on him: he fell at his feet as dead. But Jesus came to him and repeated what he did here on the Mount of Transfiguration; he came and touched him and told him to fear not. And he says the same to us.

Second, the command of the Father to listen to Jesus and the fact that only Jesus was left after the experience told Peter and his friends that they should be marked by having a priority for Christ. They were to see Jesus only. It is easy to see how this is the case in our justification because his righteousness is our only standing in the presence of God and we are accepted in the Beloved. In fact, he is not merely our priority in our justification, he is the only One we look to for it.

Jesus is to be pre-eminent in our daily living as well. Peter himself had learned this lesson by the time he had written his second letter (and long before then). But referring to our sanctification in 2 Peter 1, he mentions how believers are to add various graces to their characters:

'For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.' (2 Pet. 1:5-7)

The result is detailed in the next verse: 'For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.'

Jesus is our goal. We are to live to please him. If we do that, 'there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ' (2 Pet. 1:11). It is our privilege to sit alongside Peter in the classroom of Christ and be taught such profound lessons.

They Saw His Glory!

by Linton Smith

We sometimes hear people say, If only God would do something spectacular.. or even just something special.. I would believe in Him. Well, sometimes He does.

He did something like this for Peter, James and John. They were very privileged men. They were present when Jesus healed the daughter of Jairus, they witnessed the agony of Jesus in Gethsemane, and they were privileged to see and hear amazing things on a mountaintop.

THEY SAW JESUS TRANSFIGURED.

Luke writes.. Luke 9: 28,29..

About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.

Matthew puts it like this.. Matthew 17:2..

There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.

He was transfigured.. transformed.. His face shone like the sun.. His clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Try to picture that. What words come to mind? Peter: We were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

Luke goes on.. Luke 9:32..

Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory..

They saw His glory. We are reminded of Exodus 24:15-17..

When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the LORD called to Moses from within the cloud. To the Israelites the glory of the LORD looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain.

And we are reminded of John 1:14..

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jesus was God in human form. He made His dwelling on earth for a few short years.. and people saw His glory.. in all He was.. and all He did. And here on the mountain John saw His glory in a very special way.

I sometimes wish I had lived then.. or even been with John on that mountain.. but then.. God has done something very special for us too..

In 2 Corinthians 4:6 Paul writes..

God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

Yes.. God does that. He shines in our hearts. As we read about Jesus.. see what He was like.. we see the glory of God! If we open our hearts and minds to Him.. and bend our will to His will.. He will do just that for us today!

THEY SAW AND HEARD MOSES AND ELIJAH TALKING WITH HIM.

Luke writes.. Luke 9:30-32..

Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.

Try once more to picture what the three saw. They saw His glory.. saw Him transformed.. saw His majesty.. and now they see two Israelite heroes.. speaking with Him. Moses.. to whom God gave the law.. and Elijah.. the prophet who was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind.. What company He keeps!

And they hear these two speaking with Him about His departure. Jesus has just spoken about this to His disciples.. He asked them who they thought He was.. Peter had answered.. The Messiah of God.. and Jesus had then told them He must suffer.. be rejected.. killed.. raised.. Now.. they hear Moses and Elijah talking to Him about this..

His departure.. the word Luke uses is 'exodus'.. and we cannot help but be reminded of the great exodus of the people of Israel from Egypt.. that great deliverance.. and we get a hint of what the death and resurrection of Jesus will accomplish.. He will deliver us.. set us free.. we will be God's very special people.. with a great hope of a new heaven and earth..

I wish I had been there.. and seen and heard this.. But then we can hear what they say.. if we read and study the Hebrew scriptures..

After Jesus had died.. risen.. the Spirit had been given.. we find Peter telling people in Jerusalem.. Acts 3:22,24..

Moses said, 'The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you.' … Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days.

We do not know what Moses and Elijah said that day.. but in the Hebrew scriptures.. we can read what Moses has said.. and we can read what the prophets have said.. Do it.. and it will stir.. and challenge.. and enthuse you!

THEY HEARD THE VOICE OF GOD FROM THE CLOUD.

Luke tells us how Peter reacted and what he said.. and goes on.. Luke 9:34-36..

While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him." When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone.

A voice came from the cloud.. the voice of God.. just as He spoke from the cloud on Mt Sinai.. This time He speaks of Jesus..

This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him. Jesus is the One I promised would come.. the Messiah.. the One I have chosen.. listen to Him.

I am reminded of what Peter said after Jesus died.. rose.. and the Spirit came.. He told people in Jerusalem.. Acts 3:22,23..

Moses said, 'The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.'

And I immediately think of Hebrews 1:1,2..

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.

God has spoken through the prophets.. but in these last days.. He has spoken to us by His Son.. Listen to Him!

This is something all of us can do. We can read the Gospels.. study Jesus.. the things He did.. and said.. and see God in action.. and hear God speaking. Study. Listen. Listen well! Do what He says! Apply. Put into practice. Do as He says!

THEY WERE LEFT SHAKEN BUT SURE

Luke describes how Peter reacted.. Luke 9:32,33..

Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, "Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters-one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." (He did not know what he was saying.)

Put yourself in Peter's shoes. What would you say? We wouldn't know what to say.. we would be just like Peter.

Mark tells us.. Mark 9:6..

(He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)

And then the cloud appeared.. and they heard the voice..

Matthew tells us.. Matthew 17:6..

When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified.

Luke simply says.. Luke 9:36..

The disciples kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen.

They were shaken to the very core of their being!

About 35 years later Peter writes.. 2 Peter 1:16-18..

We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

At the time they were shaken.. but as Peter looks back over his life.. he recalls this event.. as an event that made him sure.

What we write about.. speak about.. teach you.. is not some made up story.. a man made religion. We were eye witnesses of His majesty.. we heard the voice that came from heaven. We tell you the truth. Jesus is the Messiah!

We may wish we had been there.. seen and heard that.. We were not.. but we can do the next best thing.. we can believe what they have written.. and see what they saw through their eyes!

Do that.. and we also will be shaken.. but sure. We will believe that Jesus is the Messiah.. that He died.. rose.. ascended.. will come again in power and glory..

We will lay our lives at His feet and worship Him! Let's do that now!

The Feast of the Transfiguration in the Western-Syrian Tradition

by Manuel Nin

In the Western-Syrian tradition, the great feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord highlights with beautiful images the divinity of Christ manifested through his humanity:

"Lord God, make us worthy of celebrating in holiness, chanting psalms in purity, and singing of you with songs of joy, on the feast of the manifestation of the glory of your divinity on Mount Tabor. Your grace, in fact, moves us from evil to good, from sin to justice."

The transfiguration manifests the divinity of Christ, in some way at the level of understanding of the disciples.

In the vespers of the sedro, a Syrian liturgical composition in poetic prose, the events which happened on Mt. Tabor are described,

"You, Lord, wanted the human spirit to come closer to your majesty, and you wanted your eternal light, your Only Son, to shine on creation to illuminate those who sat in the shadow of death. And he appeared on earth in our human nature to restore to us the majestic image that you know."

In a long series of phrases that begin with, "today," the sedro enumerates the salvific events:

"Today, the angels come down to honor the Only Son who has changed his aspect to manifest to the world the richness of his glory.

Today, Peter, James and John are delighted because they have seen the glory of his majesty and were frightened in front of his vision.

Today, Elijah the Tesbite arrives and adore the Lord of prophets who came to authenticate his prophecies.

Today, Moses, the head of the prophets, rises from the tomb and comes to see the Lord who appeared to him in the burning bush, that was not consumed.

Today, the disciples know that your Only Son has power over the living and the dead and they know that he too will die and will live, and with his death he will save people and nations."

The texts use different passages from the Old and New Testament as a pre-figuration of the redemption of Christ:

"Today, Elijah the prophet comes to your beloved Son to intercede for the salvation of men and supplicates him saying: Lord, if Issac’s climb towards sacrifice sanctified the altar, will not your climb towards Golgotha sanctify all men? Rise, Lord, on the altar of Melchizedek, because you are the living bread and the holy offering that accepts sacrifice and death. Come, Lord, to crucify sin and kill death, and may Adam be bathed in your life-giving blood. Today, Moses the prophet, begs your beloved Son, saying: come down, Lord, towards your beloved son Adam, and renew the image of his glory, because the likeness of your majesty had been cancelled. Adam awaits you and trembles, saying that you must come to give him back his joy, to him and to those who are with him are in prison."

Ephrem, too, parallels Tabor with Golgotha:

"When Simon climbed up Tabor, he tried to persuade the Lord: Lord, it is beautiful to be up here, without those who could disturb us! It is beautiful for us to be with the just in the tent of beatitude. It is restful to be with Moses, Elijah and not in the temple, full of hate and bitterness."

Ephrem then places Peter, with James and John,

"Blessed are you, Simon, that you were like the head and the tongue of the body of your brothers! This body is made up of disciples and the sons of Zebedee were its eyes. Blessed are they who asked their master of the thrones after having contemplated his throne. In Simon, the revelation which comes from God was heard and became a rock that does not move."

Often Ephrem returns to the image of the body of the apostles with Peter as its head, and Tabor and Golgotha by its side,:

"The scent of the kingdom filled Peter, and it was sweet to him. He saw the glory of the Lord and he delighted in the presence of Moses and of Elijah and the absence of Caiphus and Herod. Simon, despite his ignorance, spoke with great wisdom, and recognized Moses and Elijah. The Spirit, manifesting itself through the mouth of Simon, said the same things that before he had ignored. Light of the Spirit and human freedom act together."

Source: L'Osservatore Romano

Poem: Transfigured

by Jay C. Treat

We went up the mountain with Jesus,
but quite unprepared for surprise.
We never expected to see him
transform right in front of our eyes!

His face was as bright as the sunlight,
his clothes were as bright as the skies.
He talked with Elijah and Moses,
who stood right in front of our eyes.

We thought we could build them three temples:
one shrine for the giver of laws,
and one for Elijah the prophet,
and one for this master of ours.

A bright cloud then covered the mountain.
A Voice echoed deep from within,
Said, "This is my son, my beloved one!
He pleases me! Listen to him!"

We came down the mountain with Jesus,
now ready for any surprise.
We're ready to listen and follow
and change right in front of his eyes.

In The Shadow of Mount Tabor

by Fr. Andrew

Growing up here in South Dakota, I never really knew the mountains. Sure, I saw the Black Hills in 1989- but I was focused on the State Soccer tournament. When novelists would write or musicians sing about their meager existence in the shadow of mountains - I would have no clue what they were talking about. Even when I moved to Denver, the mountains were simply something there- a compass rose to point me west in a strange city. I skied and snow shoed but was not moved. Then, in February of my first year there, we went on a week silent retreat, in the mountains.

On the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park in Boulder County, Colorado, St. Malo Retreat Center sat at the foot of 13,991 ft. Mt. Meeker. Imagine my head as the peak of Mt. Meeker and that St. Malo's sits right here, at my waist. The shoulders of the mountain frame and shelter St. Malo's as you look from the road. Your whole time there, inside or outside, you are aware of Mt. Meeker, like a guardian and sentinel, keeping watch on your prayer.

Until I lived at Mt. Meeker for that one week, I never knew the majesty of mountains. I never knew how the mountain could call to my soul. I never knew the ambition that led sherpas of Nepal and Sir Edmund Hillary to climb Mt. Everest. "Why did you climb the mountain?" "Because it was there!" It isn't logical but it is human, in the depth of our heart.

Today, on Mt. Tabor - Jesus is transformed and transfigured before the eyes of His disciples. Peter, James, and John had seen Jesus and known Jesus. They knew His miracles, His healings, His teachings, and the ways Jesus spoke to the heart. But today is something different. Today they see the glory of Jesus, the true reality of who He is- beyond the miracles, healings, and teachings- they see the one who is "God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God."

Like myself in the shadow of Mt. Meeker, like Sir Edmund Hillary before Mt. Everest, St. Peter is moved to a response. His heart cries out in the presence of the unveiled glory of Jesus, breaking through the bonds of his normal life. Bursting with glory the human heart needs to respond, the human heart needs to react, the human heart needs to offer it's very self in return. Peter cries out "Lord, it is good that we are here! If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah!"

So what of our hearts here at the foot of this Mass? Do we see the majestic, the beautiful, the otherworldly Christ? If we have not yet met Jesus in such a way, if we have not met Jesus in a way that calls to us in the very depths of our souls, we must act. We must begin to live with Jesus, to talk with Jesus, to listen to Jesus in new ways. We must seek the face Jesus in the Sacraments- in confession and the Sunday Mass. We must ask Jesus to break through the deafness, to shine through the blindness of sin so that we may hear and see and be moved.

I never saw the mountains until I lived in Denver- and even then it took me a week's immersion in their beauty before I really knew them. Sts. Peter, James, and John never saw the unveiled glory of Christ until Mt. Tabor. If I called my self a mountaineer, if I said I was equal to a Nepalese sherpa, but I never left Aberdeen, you'd say I'm crazy. Let us use this season of conversion, this season of grace to encounter Jesus Christ in a new way. Shout through my deafness, Lord, shine through my blindness Lord, let me hear and see You, and move my heart to follow You.

Health Tip: With Cancer, Patients Are First Line of Defense

by Stephen Garrett Marcus, M.D.

Often, it's not cancer that kills; it's the complications of cancer, says physician Stephen Garrett Marcus, a senior biotechnology research executive.

Complications are common and become more frequent and severe if cancer progresses or spreads, he says. Spotting them early and treating them quickly can lessen their impact and save lives.

"Patients and their families are the first line of defense; they need to know what to watch for and seek treatment immediately," says Marcus, author of a comprehensive new reference, Complications of Cancer (www.DrStephenMarcus.com). "Many can be successfully treated if they're addressed at the first signs of trouble."

What to watch for? Marcus describes the symptoms of six common complications:

• Malignant spinal cord compression:

Compression of the spinal cord is caused by a malignant tumor or by bones in the spine damaged by cancer. Symptoms may include pain in the neck or back and weakness in the arms or legs. This is a medical emergency and should be promptly treated, or patients risk paralysis. Cancers of the lung, breast, and prostate, commonly spread to the spine and are the most likely cancers to produce spinal cord compression.

• Neutropenic sepsis:

This condition often occurs during chemotherapy. The most common signs of infection are fever, chills, difficulty breathing, a new persistent cough, a sore throat, or a change in mental clarity. An easy way to lower risk is to keep hands clean. If there is an intravenous access line in place, it is important to keep the area clean.

• Pulmonary embolism:

Symptoms usually include sudden, severe shortness of breath associated with pain in the chest area. Treatment may include supplemental oxygen and blood pressure support, if necessary, and administration of blood thinning "anticoagulant" medications.

• Bacterial pneumonia:

Cancer or treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation and steroid medications can diminish a person's ability to prevent the growth of dangerous bacteria in the lungs and increase the risk of pneumonia. Symptoms can include cough, fever and chills. Antibiotics will generally cure pneumonia caused by the most common types of bacteria. If the person also is having severe difficulty breathing or low blood pressure, hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics may be required.

• Intestinal obstruction:

The most common first symptom is bouts of severe pain in the middle of the abdomen. Treatment includes intravenous fluids and along with a tube passed into the stomach to decompress the intestine by withdrawing excess fluid and air. Emergency surgery may be necessary to relieve the obstruction.

• Delirium, stupor, and coma:

The most common causes of these symptoms in people with cancer are problems with blood chemistry, spread of cancer to the brain, side effects of medications and infections. These complications have various treatments after the cause is identified.

"Attitude is the great wild card for surviving cancer," Marcus say, "both in vigilance for possible complications, and the courage to keep fighting."

About Stephen Garrett Marcus, M.D.

Stephen Garrett Marcus, M.D. received his medical degree from New York Medical College and completed a medical oncology fellowship at the University of California in San Francisco. As a senior research executive in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry since 1985, he played a lead role in developing Betaseron as the first effective treatment of multiple sclerosis, and has led multinational research teams for other treatments. Marcus is the president and CEO of a biotechnology company developing new treatments for cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.

Read more health tips in Malankara World Health Section

Recipe: Courageous Cabbage Soup
Ingredients:

1 head red cabbage -- cut to bite-size
3 medium onions -- coarse-chopped
8 ounces raisins
1/2 cup brown rice -- uncooked
1 can whole tomatoes (15 oz. or so )
1 large can tomato paste
1 splash of vinegar
Lots of water

Directions:

Put cabbage, onions, raisins, and rice in crockpot; add water to cover generously (tough to do since the cabbage floats).

Cook on highest setting for a few hours, until the cabbage is faded and the water is bright purple.

Add tomatoes and vinegar.

Finish cooking on lowest cooking setting.

Served with a big salad, this makes for an interesting and filling evening meal.

More Recipes/ Cooking Tips at Malankara World Cafe

Family Special: A Child's Place
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 "Honor your father and mother" (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 "that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land." 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
-Ephesians 6:1-4

Most of us wish lots of things for our kids. And often, particularly with Christian parents, knowing our children have a healthy relationship with God is somewhere on the list. Here's a hard truth for parents to swallow. You cannot guarantee that your children will become followers of Jesus Christ. And there is nothing you can do to guarantee that they will. But there are some things that you could do to guarantee that they won't (see verse 4 above). God makes it clear, however, that He wants us to bring our children up a certain way.

As an application of Ephesians 6:1 , we taught our kids the three rules of obedience. Here they are:

  • Do what you are told.
  • Do it immediately.
  • Do it with a good attitude.

Why did Paul make obedience so essential in Ephesians 6:1? Why not self-esteem? Why not something about birth order? Why not something about spending quality time with your children? All of those things are good. But why obedience? Because I believe that teaching your children obedience is the foundation for everything. Here are three reasons why from Ephesians 6:1-3 :

  1. Because obedience is right (v. 6:1b). Children are to obey parents, first because they're parents and second because the child wants to please the Lord.
  2. Because if they don't honor their parents, they will never honor God (v. 6:2). The key to even understanding what it means to honor God is learned and practiced in our relationship with our parents.
  3. Because if they don't honor God, life will be miserable and/or short (v. 6:3). God's Word promises a different quality of life based on learning to honor God and those He has placed over us as parents.

These verses are not-trust me on this-primarily an injunctive to children. It envisions parents with the Bible open and bringing their children in front of what God is asking of them, to get that backing from heaven on what it is they're supposed to be teaching. Parents are responsible to teach their kids obedience. Kids may not, no, they will not always obey, but they need to understand as deeply as possible what obedience is. That way, when it comes to obeying God, kids will know what that's all about!-James MacDonald

Prayer

Heavenly Father, so much of my daily relationship with You comes down to obedience. Am I willing to obey and trust You? Faith is so often demonstrated in obedience. Thank You for having Your Son demonstrate in His life the importance of obedience even when it wasn't easy, so that I would have a perfect example to follow. Help me to wisely train my children in the practice of obedience and give them the best position from which to be drawn to You. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Source: Our Journey Online Devotional

Humor: Secret to Happy Marriage
Once Banta asked Santa, "What is the secret behind your happy married life?"

Santa said, "You should share responsibilities with due love and respect to each other...... Then absolutely there will be no problems." !!

Banta asked, "Can you explain ?"

Santa said, "In my house, I take decisions on bigger issues whereas my wife decides on smaller issues. We do not interfere in each other's decisions."....

Still not convinced, Banta asked, "Give me some examples".

Santa said, "Smaller issues like which car we should buy, how much amount to save, when to visit home town, which Sofa, air conditioner, refrigerator to buy, monthly expenses, whether to keep a maid or not etc are decided by my wife. I just agree to it."

Banta asked, "Then what is your role?"

Santa said, "My decisions are only for very big issues. Like whether America should attack Iran, whether Britain should lift sanction over Zimbabwe, whether to widen African economy, whether Sachin Tendulkar should retire etc.

Do you know one thing? My wife NEVER objects to any of these."

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