“MERCY TRIUMPHS OVER JUDGMENT” (JAS 2:13)

“Pardon our sins for Your name’s sake.” —Psalm 79:9
 
The prophet Ezekiel explains that God delivered His sinful people to uphold the greatness of His own name throughout the nations (Ez 36:22). It was important to the Lord that He would not be regarded by the pagans as a fickle God Who promised to be God of His people, but then abandoned them when they strayed from Him.
Justice is on God’s side (see Dn 9:7); yet even more than being just, God is compassionate and merciful (Dn 9:9Ps 103:8Ex 34:6). Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI even made the amazing observation that “God’s passionate love for His people — for humanity…is so great that it turns God against Himself, His love against His justice” (God is Love, 10).
When we have given ourselves to God and we covenant with Him in Baptism, we are protected because we are now associated with the Holy Name of God. We are stamped with His image and His Name. We are His. As a parent stands up for their child, so God fights for His children, even if He “turns…His love against His justice” because of us.
Therefore, beloved children, live in holiness and obedience, so that God need no longer turn against Himself because of us.
 
Prayer: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, how can I ever thank You enough for holding back your just punishments toward me, and instead lavishing me with Your merciful love. I will spend the rest of my life serving You with gladness (Ps 100:2).
Promise: “Pardon, and you shall be pardoned.” Lk 6:37
Praise: St. Cyril returned after exile to formally accept the Nicene Creed.
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Christ and Moses

From the Catecheses
by
Saint John Chrysostom, bishop
[ c. 349 – 407 A.D.
The Israelites witnessed marvels; you also will witness marvels, greater and more splendid than those which accompanied them on their departure from Egypt. You did not see Pharaoh drowned with his armies, but you have seen the devil with his weapons overcome by the waters of baptism. The Israelites passed through the sea; you have passed from death to life. They were delivered from the Egyptians; you have been delivered from the powers of darkness. The Israelites were freed from slavery to a pagan people; you have been freed from the much greater slavery to sin.
  Do you need another argument to show that the gifts you have received are greater than theirs? The Israelites could not look on the face of Moses in glory, though he was their fellow servant and kinsman. But you have seen the face of Christ in his glory. Paul cried out: We see the glory of the Lord with faces unveiled.
  In those days Christ was present to the Israelites as he followed them, but he is present to us in a much deeper sense. The Lord was with them because of the favour he showed to Moses; now he is with us, but not simply because of your obedience. After Egypt they dwelt in desert places; after your departure you will dwell in heaven. Their great leader and commander was Moses; we have a new Moses, God himself, as our leader and commander.
  What distinguished the first Moses? Moses, Scripture tells us, was more gentle than all who dwelt upon the earth. We can rightly say the same of the new Moses, for there was with him the very Spirit of gentleness, united to him in his inmost being. In those days Moses raised his hands to heaven and brought down manna, the bread of angels; the new Moses raises his hands to heaven and gives us the food of eternal life. Moses struck the rock and brought forth streams of water; Christ touches his table, strikes the spiritual rock of the new covenant and draws forth the living water of the Spirit. This rock is like a fountain in the midst of Christ’s table. so that on all sides the flocks may draw near to this living spring and refresh themselves in the waters of salvation.
  Since this fountain, this source of life, this table surrounds us with untold blessings and fills us with the gifts of the Spirit, let us approach it with sincerity of heart and purity of conscience to receive grace and mercy in our time of need. Grace and mercy be yours from the only-begotten Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; through him and with him be glory, honour and power to the Father and the life-giving Spirit, now and always and for ever. Amen.

LOVE AND DAILY DYINGS

“Unfortunately, many go about in a way which shows them to be enemies of the cross of Christ.” —Philippians 3:18

Jesus commanded us to take up our crosses each day (Lk 9:23). A Roman cross existed only for the purpose of causing a person’s death. A daily cross is daily dying to self. This is the ultimate life of love, which is the greatest expression of freedom. However, a life of daily crosses and daily dyings requires so much love that we may not choose this life of selfless love and thereby be paralyzed by selfishness and fear. Only by obeying the Lord can we be set free to choose the way of daily crosses, the way of love.
Jesus takes us up Transfiguration mountain where the veil is removed from the hidden Christ (see Col 3:3) of faith so that we can see the transfigured Christ of glory. This may happen through the sacraments, the Bible, the poor, a healing, a miracle, a marriage, a birth, a blessing, or other spiritual experiences. When we see Christ transfigured, we are led to receive a new Pentecost. Then the Spirit proclaims that Jesus is Lord (1 Cor 12:3). Knowing not only in our heads but also in our hearts that Jesus is Lord, we listen to Jesus (Lk 9:35) — even about the love-filled life of daily crosses and daily dyings. In submission to the transfigured Lord Jesus, we are free to love as He loved — even to death on the cross.

Prayer: Father, by obedience to the truth purify me for genuine love (1 Pt 1:22).
Promise: “You whom I so love and long for, you who are my joy and my crown, continue, my dear ones, to stand firm in the Lord.” —Phil 4:1
Praise: Glory and praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory.

The Law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ

From a sermon
of
Saint Leo the Great, pope
[ c. 400 – 461 A.D. ]

The Lord reveals his glory in the presence of chosen witnesses. His body is like that of the rest of mankind, but he makes it shine with such splendour that his face becomes like the sun in glory, and his garments as white as snow.
The great reason for this transfiguration was to remove the scandal of the cross from the hearts of his disciples, and to prevent the humiliation of his voluntary suffering from disturbing the faith of those who had witnessed the surpassing glory that lay concealed.
With no less forethought he was also providing a firm foundation for the hope of holy Church. The whole body of Christ was to understand the kind of transformation that it would receive as his gift: the members of that body were to look forward to a share in that glory which first blazed out in Christ their head.
The Lord had himself spoken of this when he foretold the splendour of his coming: Then the just will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Saint Paul the apostle bore witness to this same truth when he said: I consider that the sufferings of the present time are not to be compared to the future glory that is to be revealed in us.In another place he says: You are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
This marvel of the transfiguration contains another lesson for the apostles, to strengthen them and lead them into the fullness of knowledge. Moses and Elijah, the law and the prophets, appeared with the Lord in conversation with him. This was in order to fulfil exactly, through the presence of these five men, the text which says: Before two or three witnesses every word is ratified. What word could be more firmly established, more securely based, than the word which is proclaimed by the trumpets of both old and new testaments, sounding in harmony, and by the utterances of ancient prophecy and the teaching of the Gospel, in full agreement with each other?
The writings of the two testaments support each other. The radiance of the transfiguration reveals clearly and unmistakably the one who had been promised by signs foretelling him under the veils of mystery. As Saint John says: The law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. In him the promise made through the shadows of prophecy stands revealed, along with the full meaning of the precepts of the law. He is the one who teaches the truth of the prophecy through his presence, and makes obedience to the commandments possible through grace.
In the preaching of the holy Gospel all should receive a strengthening of their faith. No one should be ashamed of the cross of Christ, through which the world has been redeemed.
No one should fear to suffer for the sake of justice; no one should lose confidence in the reward that has been promised. The way to rest is through toil, the way to life is through death. Christ has taken on himself the whole weakness of our lowly human nature. If then we are steadfast in our faith in him and in our love for him, we win the victory that he has won, we receive what he has promised.
When it comes to obeying the commandments or enduring adversity, the words uttered by the Father should always echo in our ears: This is my Son, the beloved, in whom I am well pleased; listen to him.