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Second Saturday of Advent - Coming Down

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The disciples of today’s gospel are giving good example to Dominican Student brothers! After witnessing the extraordinary moment of the Transfiguration on the solitude of Mount Tabor, they come down the mountain to take this revelation to the world, trying to make sense as they walk of their experience of God, and the contingencies of human history, in the light of revelation. 

Quite literally, they enter into dialogue with revelation, quizzing Christ—who is personally the revelation of the Father—and in turn being personally interrogated by His response. Their theories about the identity of Elijah, whose return from the heavenly chambers was anticipated as the pre-cursor to the Messianic revelation, are challenged, qualified and purified in the light of Christ’s advent. 

Advent is an invitation to ‘come down the mountain’, to make sense of our lives and of human history in the light of the promise and fulfilment of revelation, and to recognise that, however cherished are our ‘mountains’ of human construction, they stand as radically provisional before God’s ‘mountain’ on which the Truth is revealed. As we survey the hopes and tragedies of life, the joys and the fears of our own, as well as the victories and the defeats that scourge our world, we are invited to hope, to see God himself as the guide and culmination of history.

Each life has ‘mountain’ moments of great significance: moments when God feels especially close, and events such as the births and deaths of loved ones, moments of decision such as marriage or religious profession, after which life cannot remain unchanged. These are moments that must be lived out, for we cannot remain wrapt in the ecstasy of Tabor perpetually, but must allow these graces to flourish and sanctify the ordinary, transfiguring the mundane, transforming the arid. In so-doing we enter into the mystery of Christ’s advent, experiencing how quickly the Annunciation becomes the Visitation.  It was in response to the extraordinary and revelatory moment of the angel’s appearance that Mary gave her fiat, her yes to God. But the angel left her.

Readings: Matthew 17:10-13.

Fr Oliver James Keenan O.P.

Br Oliver James Keenan O.P.

fr. Oliver is a doctoral candidate in modern doctrine at the University of Oxford, and he is resident in St Dominic's Priory, London.


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