DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     August 5, 1998     vol. 9, no. 152


To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO

Wednesday, August 5, 1998

    Wednesday August 5: Eighteenth Wednesday in Ordinary Time and
    Feast of the Dedication of Saint Mary Major Basilica

    Green or White vestments

      First Reading: Jeremiah 31: 1-7
      Psalms: Jeremiah 31: 10-13
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 15: 21-28


          Many believe that Saint Mary Major Basilica was derived from an apparition in which Our Lady appeared, designating a place where she desired a basilica in her honor be built in the early centuries. Legend has it that on the evening of August 5th somewhere around the year 358 in the midst of the hot Roman summer the site was miraculously outlined in snow the next morning when the citizens awoke. Thus she became known as "Our Lady of the Snows". There are conflicting reports as to the date. Some annals contend it was August 15th, which would later become the Feast of the Assumption. Regardless it was August and for it to snow during the most sizzling month of the year when most Romans abandon their city for the cooler mountains, was truly a miracle. Pope Saint Liberius realized this immediately and laid the foundations for the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. Pope Saint Sixtus III designated August 5th as the official date for commemorating this feast around the year 435. Above the portals of this Basilica are the words "Plebus Dei" which means "Dedicated to the People of God." From the seventh century on the Basilica was also known as "Blessed Mary at the Crib", because many believed that within this Basilica nestled in the narrow streets of Rome was the true manger from Bethlehem miraculously transported. This has never been proven and many believe it exists there mystically in the Tabernacle where her Divine Son resides Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist. In 1586, another Sixtus, Pope Sixtus V entered this feast into the Roman Calendar.

Thursday, August 6, 1998

      First Reading: Daniel 7: 9-10, 13-14
      Psalms: Psalm 97: 1-2, 5-6, 9
      Second Reading: 2 Peter 1: 16-19
      Gospel Reading: Luke 9: 28-36


          One of the manifestations of Jesus Christ's deity was the glorification of His appearance before His Resurrection. As the accounts of Matthew 17: 1-8; Mark 9: 1-8; and Luke 9: 28-36 describe while praying with His chosen Apostles Peter, James and John on the mountain, Jesus' "face shone as the sun, and His garments became white as snow." Then He was transfigured before them, and Moses and Elias or Elijah joined Him. The Apostles intuitively knew there was no need for fear as Peter remarked to his Master, "Lord, it is good for us to be here." It was truly prophetic for Peter showed his personality in this passage as he meandered on about erecting three altars to the three in the Transfiguration. It gives us a glimpse of the thinking behind the one who would be chosen to lead Christ's Church for Peter, along with the other two Apostles who heard the Father confirm Jesus' mission with the words, "This is My Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased; hear Him." After that, as if in a trance, the Evangelists tell only that the three Apostles fell on their faces - so in awe of this vision that the next thing they knew Jesus Himself was touching them, the Transfiguration over, beckoning them to "Arise, and be not afraid." Jesus knew no one else would understand what had just transpired and so counseled the three to tell no one of this event until AFTER the Resurrection when they would clearly understand that "Truly He was the Son of God" (Matthew 27: 54). Jesus also felt it was important for them to witness this event in order that when they later would see Him suffer, it would sustain them in knowing that He was truly God and would rise. As we know it was these same three Apostles who accompanied Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemani where they showed their frailties by falling asleep. Also, it was the impulsive Peter who seemed to forget the Transfiguration vision while he cowered in the courtyard denying Our Lord. The etymology of Transfiguration is derived from the Latin trans which means "change" and figura meaning "figure" which Jesus did indeed do, His countenance changed before the Apostles' very eyes as did His figure which became very agile providing proof that a glorified body can move rapidly from one place to another like the speed of light or sound. This was confirmed in Luke 24: 31, 34, 36 when the Evangelist places Jesus on the road to Emmaus and then "vanished from their sight", then immediately he was inside the upper room "stood in their midst." The doors were locked, yet besides agility, Christ possessed "subtility" which allows a body to go where it pleases without any resistance to material matter. Thus He was able to pass through walls as light streams through glass.

August 5, 1998       volume 9, no. 152


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