Called to Transfigured Service ~ The Rev. Dcn. Mark G. Dickson-Patrick, Novice

Reading 1 – Genesis 12:1-4A

The LORD said to Abram:
“Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you. “I will make of you a great nation,
and I will bless you; I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.  All the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you.”  Abram went as the LORD directed him.

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22

  1. (22) Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
    Upright is the word of the LORD, and all his works are trustworthy.  He loves justice and right; of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
    R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
    See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him, upon those who hope for his kindness, To deliver them from death
    and preserve them in spite of famine.
    R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
    Our soul waits for the LORD, who is our help and our shield.  May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us who have put our hope in you.
    R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

Reading 2 – 2 Timothy 1:8B-10

Beloved:  Bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.  He saved us and called us to a holy life,
not according to our works ut according to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began, but now made manifest through the appearance of our savior Christ Jesus, who destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
Gospel – Matthew 17:1-9

Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.  And he was transfigured before them;
his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.  And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “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.”  While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”  When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid.  But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.”  And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, “Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the great foundress of the Missionaries of Charity who ministered to the sick, the poor, and the dying in the streets of Calcutta, India, has inspired thousands of people through her life of service to the outcast. Many have been inspired to take up her mantle and continue her work as a member of her order or through their own acts of charity and outreach to the poor, the marginalized, and the oppressed. Many thought that her good works were done in order to help people, that she was called to help people. To this claim, the great saint said, “Many people mistake our work for our vocation. Our vocation is the love of Jesus.” This saint who experienced spiritual darkness for a vast majority of her religious life, and yet still devoted her life and the life of her community to aiding the poor stated that her vocation is “the love of Jesus,” her whole being and calling in life was geared to the love of Jesus alone. How beautiful!

To what are we called? What is our vocation? In our readings today, we are given a good visualization to help us to evaluate our own personal individual calls, our vocations, and how they are lining up with what we are doing in our lives. Are we doing what God is calling us to do? In our first reading, we hear the calling of Abraham, previously known as Abram, as God tells him “I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” Abraham’s calling was to be a great nation, a blessing to all the world. Called to be a Dominican deacon on the road to priesthood, I am called to prayer, study, preaching, and teaching in the spirit of St. Dominic de Guzman.

St. Paul tells Timothy in our second reading that we are to “bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.” Because of our salvation, our Lord calls us to a life of particular service to the Kingdom of God. How do we discern this? This is something that my husband, Alex, struggled with particularly as he got involved with the local Church. Through prayer and invitation of the Holy Spirit, he has discovered that he really loves teaching little kids in Sunday school. That is where he finds his inspiration, his niche for the growth of the Kingdom of God. Praise God!

Whatever our calling, whether it be to the priesthood, diaconate, religious life, teaching, lay reader, preaching, or any other form of service to the Kingdom of God, I propose today that we are called to live a life of transfigured service. In our Gospel reading, our Lord takes Peter, James, and John atop the mountain and is there transfigured before them, gleaming white and giving them a foretaste of His resurrection and life after the resurrection. In doing so, our Lord called them and so too calls us, to life of transfigured service, transfigured by His grace and His love and bringing that gift to all people.

Let us ask the Lord to daily transfigure us by His goodness, love, mercy and grace, that we might discover and fully live out the duties of our callings in this life, that we might enter our heavenly reward having accomplished all that the Lord has put before us and we are welcomed home, as the Lord says, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into your rest, prepared for you from before the foundation of the world.”

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