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An element of mystery will always invest these words. They must have accomplished the purpose for which they were spoken, for Christ spoke not without a purpose, and no purpose of Christ can miscarry. But their meaning is not clear to us. This obscurity nothing weakens the great message of salvation. We see a part and we accept the other part that is bound up in mystery. But the revelation is so clear that we should believe the teaching and await the fuller manifestation. Perhaps the most probable sense of these mysterious words of Christ is the glorious manifestation of Christ to his Apostles after his Resurrection, and especially in Christ's Ascension. Christ had two phases of his incarnate existence. The first began with his conception in the womb of the Virgin Mary and extended unto his death; the second began with his Resurrection from the tomb, and will never end. The first was Christ's period of humiliation, of suffering, of death; the second is his period of glory, and of life.
Now the Apostles had been closely associated with Jesus during the period of his sufferings; they had seen him living the life of man among them. At the same time, he spoke of a life into which he was to enter after the completion of his career on earth. He had just spoken of the participation in this which was held out to his followers. And as it were, to prove to them the reality of this future glorious existence, he tells them that some of them will see a manifestation thereof.
The Ascension belongs totally to Christ's glorious existence as the Son of Man. In that event, his body was in its glorified state, in the same form in which it exists in Heaven. A great glory invested his divine person; the angels of Heaven surrounded him. It was the greatest manifestation of his glory ever given to this world; it was one of the greatest proofs of the glorious character of Christ's kingdom.
In fact, when Christ shall come to judge the world at the end of time, his coming must resemble his glorious Ascension into Heaven.
The mention of Christ's Ascension is also apposite to the theme here treated of by Christ. He has contrasted man's present life with his future life. To make the realization of that future life stronger, he declares to the Apostles, and to the
disciples that some of them would, even in this life, witness some evidence of the glories of that other life.
The Ascension could justly be called the coming of Christ in his kingdom, or as St. Mark expresses it, the kingdom of God coming with power; because it was the manifestation of the incarnate Word in that glorious form which he possesses as the head of the Church, and which he has promised us as members of his Church. ΜATT. XVII. Ι-13
MARK IX. 2-13 Ι. Και μεθ' εξ ημέρας παρα- Και μετά εξ ημέρας παραλαμβάνει ο Ιησούς τον Πέτρος και λαμβάνει ο Ιησούς τον Πέτρον, Ιάκωβον και Ιωάννην τον αδελφόν και τον Ιάκωβον, και Ιωάννην, αυτού, και αναφέρει αυτούς εις όρος και αναφέρει αυτούς εις όρος υψηυψηλόν κατ' ιδίαν.
λόν κατ' ιδίαν μόνους, και μετεμορ
φώθη έμπροσθεν αυτών. 2. Και μετεμορφώθη έμπροσθεν
3. Και τα μάτια αυτού εγένετο αυτών, και έλαμψεν το πρόσωπον στίλβοντα, λευκά λίαν οία γναφεύς αυτού ώς ο ήλιος, τά δε ιμάτια αυτού
επί της γης ου δύναται ούτως λευεγένοντο λευκά ως το φώς.
κάναι. 3. Και ιδού ώφθη αυτοίς Μωϋ- 4. Και ώφθη αυτοίς Ηλείας σης και Ηλείας, συλλαλoύντες συν Μωϋσει, και ήσαν συλλαλούντες μετ' αυτού.
τώ Ιησού. 4. 'Aποκριθείς δε ο Πέτρος 5. Και αποκριθείς και Πέτρος είπεν τώ Ιησού: Κύριε, καλόν λέγει τώ Ιησού: Ραββεί, καλόν έστιν ημάς ώδε είναι: ει θέλεις ποι- έστιν ημάς ώδε είναι, και ποιήσωμεν ήσω ώδε σκηνές τρείς, σοι μίαν, τρείς σκηνάς, σοι μίαν, και Μωϋσει και Μωϋσει μίαν, και μίαν Ηλεία. μίαν, και Ηλεία μίαν.
5. "Έτι αυτού λαλούντος, ιδου 6. Ου γαρ η δει τι αποκριθή, νεφέλη φωτεινή έπεσκίασεν αυτούς, έκφοβοι γάρ εγένοντο. και ιδου φωνή έκ της νεφέλης λέγουσα, 7. Και εγένετο νεφέλη επισκιΟύτός έστιν ο Υιός μου ο αγαπητός, άζουσα αυτοίς, και εγένετο φωνή εν ώ ευδόκησα: ακούετε αυτού.
εκ της νεφέλης: Ούτός έστιν ο Υιός 6. Και ακούσαντες οι μαθηται
μου ο αγαπητός, ακούετε αυτού. έπεσαν επί πρόσωπον αυτών, και εφοβήθησαν σφόδρα.
7. Και προσήλθεν ο Ιησούς και αψάμενος αυτών είπεν: 'Εγέρθητε, και μη φοβείσθε.
8. 'Επάραντες δε τους οφθαλ- 8. Και εξάπινα περιβλεψάμενοι, μούς αυτών, ουδένα είδον, ει μή ουκέτι ουδένα είδον μετα εαυτών αυτόν 'Ιησούν μόνον.
ει μη τον Ιησούν μόνον.
9. Και καταβαινόντων αυτών εκ 9. Και καταβαινόντων αυτών του όρους, ενετείλατο αυτοίς και έκ του όρους, διεστείλατο αυτοίς 'Ιησούς λέγων: Μηδενι είπητε το ένα μηδενί & είδον διηγήσωνται, ει όραμα, έως ου ο Υιός του ανθρώπου μή όταν ο Υιός του ανθρώπου εκ εκ νεκρών εγερθή.
νεκρών αναστή. 10. Και επηρώτησαν αυτόν οι 1ο. Και τον λόγον εκράτησαν μαθηταί αυτού, λέγοντες: Τί ούν προς εαυτούς συζητούντες, τι εστιν οι γραμματείς λέγουσιν, ότι Ηλείαν το εκ νεκρών αναστήναι. δεί ελθείν πρώτον, ΙΙ. Ο δε αποκριθείς είπεν:
αυτόν, Ηλείας μεν έρχεται και αποκατα- λέγοντες: “Ότι λέγουσιν οι γραμστήσει πάντα.
ματείς, ότι Ηλείαν δει έλθείν πρώτον. 12. Λέγω δε υμίν, ότι Ηλείας
“Ο δε έφη αυτοίς: Ηλείας ήδη ήλθεν, και ουκ επέγνωσαν αυτόν, μέν ελθών πρώτον, αποκαθιστάνει αλλ' εποίησαν εν αυτώ όσα ήθέλη- πάντα, και πώς γέγραπται επί τον σαν: ούτως και ο Υιός του ανθρώ- Υιόν του ανθρώπου, ένα πολλά πάθη που μέλλει πάσχειν υπ' αυτών. και εξουδενωθή;
13. Τότε συνήκαν οι μαθηταί, 13. 'Αλλά λέγω υμίν, ότι και ότι περί 'Ιωάννου του βαπτιστού Ηλείας ελήλυθεν, και εποίησαν είπεν αυτοίς.
αυτώ όσα ήθελον, καθώς γέγραπται
επ' αυτόν. And after six days Jesus And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and taketh with him Peter, and James, and John his brother, James, and John, and bringeth and bringeth them up into a them up into a high mountain high mountain apart:
apart by themselves: and he
was transfigured before them: And he was transfigured 3. And his garments became before them: and his face did glittering, exceeding white; so shine as the sun, and his gar- as no fuller on earth can whiten ments became white the
them. light. 3.
And behold, there ap- 4. And there appeared unto peared unto them Moses and them Eliah with Moses: and Eliah talking with him.
they were talking with Jesus. 4. And Peter answered, and 5. And Peter answereth and said unto Jesus: Lord, it is saith to Jesus: Rabbi, it is good good for us to be here: if thou for us to be here: and let us wilt, I will make here three make three tabernacles; one for tabernacles; one for thee,and one thee, and one for Moses, and for Moses, and one for Eliah. one for Eliah.
(3) Gosp. III
5. While he was yet speak- 6. For he knew not what to ing, behold, a bright a bright cloud
answer; for they became sore overshadowed them: and be afraid. hold, a voice out of the cloud,
7. And there came a cloud saying: This is my beloved overshadowing them: and there Son, in whom I am well pleased;
came a voice out of the cloud: hear ye him.
This is my beloved Son: hear
6. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.
7. And Jesus came and touched them and said: Arise, and be not afraid. 8. And lifting up their eyes, 8. And suddenly
suddenly looking they saw no one, save Jesus round about, they saw no one only.
any more, save Jesus only with
themselves. 9. And as they were com- 9. And as they were coming down from the mountain, ing down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, say- he charged them that they ing: Tell the vision to no man, should tell no man what things until the Son of man be risen they had seen, save when the from the dead.
Son of man should have risen again from the dead.
And they kept the saying, questioning among them
selves what the rising again from 10. And his disciples asked
the dead should mean. him, saying: Why then say the
And they asked him, scribes that Eliah must first saying: The scribes say that come?
Eliah must first come.
And he said unto them: said: Eliah indeed cometh, and Eliah indeed cometh first, and shall restore all things:
restoreth all things: and how is it written of the son of man that he should suffer many
things and be set at naught? 12, But I say unto you, that 13 But I say unto you, that Eliah is come already, and they Eliah is come, and they have knew him not, but did unto him also done unto him whatsoever
whatsoever they listed. Even they would, even as it is written so shall the Son of man also of him. suffer of them.
13. Then understood the disciples that he spoke unto them of John the Baptist.
LUKE IX. 28-36 28. And it came to pass 28. Εγένετο δε μετά τους about eight days after these λόγους τούτους, ώσει ημέραι οκτώ, Sayings, he took with him Peter παραλαβών Πέτρον και Ιωάννης and John and James, and went και Ιάκωβον, ανέβη εις το όρος up into the mountain to pray. προσεύξασθαι.
29. And as he was praying, 29. Και εγένετο εν τώ προσthe fashion of his countenance εύχεσθαι αυτόν και το είδος του was altered, and his raiment προσώπου αυτού έτερον, και ο εμαbecame white and dazzling. τισμός αυτού λευκός έξαστράπτων.
30. And behold, there talked 30. Και ιδού, άνδρες δύο συνwith him two men, who were ελάλουν αυτώ οίτινες ήσαν Μωϋσής Moses and Eliah;
και Ηλείας. 31. Who appeared in glory 31. Ο όφθέντες εν δόξη, έλεand spoke of his decease which γον την έξοδον αυτού ήν έμελλεν he was about to accomplish at πληρούν εν Ιερουσαλήμ. Jerusalem. .
32. Now Peter and they that 32. Ο δε Πέτρος και οι συν were with him were heavy with αυτώ ήσαν βεβαρημένοι ύπνω: διαsleep but when they were fully γρηγορήσαντες δε είδον την δόξαν awake, they saw his glory, and αυτού, και τους δύο άνδρας τους the two men that stood with συνεστώτας αυτώ. him. 33. And it came
33. Και εγένετο εν τώ διαχωas they were parting from him, ρίζεσθαι αυτούς απ' αυτού, είπεν Peter said unto Jesus: Master, ο Πέτρος προς τον Ιησούν: Επιit is good for us to be here: and στάτα, καλόν εστιν ημάς ώδε είναι, let us make three tabernacles; και ποιήσωμεν σκηνας τρείς, μίαν one for thee, and one for Moses, σοι, και μίαν Μωϋσει, και μίαν and one for Eliah: not knowing Ηλεία, μή ειδώς δ λέγει. what he said. .
34. And while he said these 34. Ταύτα δε αυτου λέγοντος, things, there came a cloud, and έγένετο νεφέλη, και έπεσκίασεν αυovershadowed them: and they τους, εφοβήθησαν δε εν τώ εισελθείν feared as they entered into the αυτούς εις την νεφέλην. cloud.