10 December 2015

Luke 9

Late, so late. But I legitimately forgot to read and write about the chapter this time, instead of just putting it off!

...Actually, I'm not sure whether that's better or worse.

Anyway, there will be stories aplenty tomorrow about this week of watery angst that will hopefully excuse my tardiness with this, but I'll leave them for my Seven Quick Takes and just jump straight into the ninth chapter of Luke here.

Foreshadowing. So much foreshadowing in this chapter.

Now Herod, the tetrarch, heard of all things that were done by him; and he was in a doubt, because it was said
By some, that John was risen from the dead: but by other some, that Elias had appeared; and by others, that one of the old prophets was risen again.
And Herod said: John I have beheaded; but who is this of whom I hear such things? And he sought to see him.

If I recall correctly, Herod's desire to see Christ doesn't come up again until the Passion narrative, when Pilate sends Christ over to Herod briefly.

23 And he said to all: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

"Take up his cross daily..." Reading that today and knowing the whole story, we have the context to know that Christ is using imagery from his coming Passion, and so can interpret that as a call to follow in Christ's footsteps, through sacrifice and dying to self. But what context did his disciples have? Peter just affirmed that Christ is the Messiah, the Savior of Israel; at this point, a Roman instrument of torture has no part in their concept of being saved. 

29 And whilst he prayed, the shape of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became white and glittering.
30 And behold two men were talking with him. And they were Moses and Elias,
31 Appearing in majesty. And they spoke of his decease that he should accomplish in Jerusalem.

The Transfiguration physically foreshadows the glorified, risen Body of Christ. The "shape of his countenance was altered;" possibly a prevenient explanation of the disciples on the road to Emmaus not recognizing the risen Christ? I love the word "prevenient"—it made me ridiculously happy to hear it at Mass on Tuesday. Am I a dork? Yes, yes I am.

Moses and Elias/Elijah also appear "in majesty," which the longer I think about it, the more it confuses me. Our physical bodies will be raised and perfected at the final judgement, and presumably that's the "majesty" here, but if Christ hadn't died yet (thus opening Heaven to those who had already died), how did Moses and Elias...? Because God is outside of time, and because nothing is impossible for God, I suppose is probably the best answer. 

Also, given the centuries separating them and the clear Hebrew prohibition of graven images, how did Peter know that the two men were Moses and Elias? I wonder if there was any way, apart from God allowing him to know it.

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