The greatest compliment one could receive in the time of Jesus was to be called a descendant of Abraham. Remember, that’s what Jesus calls Zacchaeus, the tax collector, when the two have dinner together and people are scandalized.
What makes Abraham such a heroic figure in the bible? That will be answered partially at least in our first reading.
Abraham is in the background of our gospel story of the Transfiguration, along with so many additional biblical references. All this biblical imagery in the gospel story is exquisitely organized to point us in one basic direction toward the future. What will happen to Jesus in the gospel and what happens to us in life.
The second reading is a stunningly beautiful summary of how we are transformed by the grace of Christ. It puts in formal Christian language what the gospel story suggests in biblical imagery. But this second reading echoes the gospel, too, when it speaks of the appearance of our savior Christ Jesus.
—Walter Modrys SJ
This week’s readings can be found on the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website.