Transfiguration, Blessed Fra Angelico [Web Gallery of Art]
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Gospel Mark 9:2-10 (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition)
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them,
Assumpsit Iesus Petrum
Sebastián de Vivanco (Ávila, 1551 - Salamanca, 1622)
Música Reservata de Barcelona directed by Bruno Turner
he Diocese of Islamabad-Rawalpindi began collecting testimonies about Shahbaz Bhatti to inquire into his martyrdom and sanctity. Sts Peter, James and John, as they came down the mountain after having seen the Transfigured Jesus, wondered what 'rising from the dead' meant. A few weeks after the assassination of Clement Shahbaz Bhatti the bishops of Pakistan petitioned the Holy See to declare him a martyr. Bishop Andrew Francis of Multan, who drafted the petition, said, We Christians in Pakistan want to transform the death of Shahbaz Bhatti into a prophecy of the Resurrection. It was only after the Crucifixion that the Resurrection could occur and it was only after Easter Sunday that the Apostles found the answer to their question. On 2 March 2016, the fifth anniversary of his death, t
Assumpsit Iesus Petrum, et Iacobum et Ioannem fratrem eius, et duxit eos in montem excelsum seorsum, et transfiguratus est ante eos.
Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves.
Et ecce vox de nube dicens: His est Filius meus dilectus, in quo mihi bene complauci, ipsum audite.
And from the cloud there came a voice, ‘Thisis my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!’ (Mark 10: 2,7).
Clement Shahbaz Bhatti [Wikipedia]
(9 September 1968 - 2 March 2011)
In today's first reading God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son 'on a height that I will point out to you'. We can only imagine the heartbreak of Abraham being asked by God to give offer his only son by Sarah his wife, born when both of them were very old. But God wasn't looking for the life of Isaac but for Abraham to submit himself to God's will, no matter the consequences. Abraham's sacrifice of his own will made him 'our Father in faith', as the Roman Canon says, the Father of countless Jews and Christians.
From the time of St Stephen, the first Christian martyr, down to our own day, God has been calling certain individuals to give up everything that is precious to them, including life itself, for the sake of others.
The struggle of Abraham is a sign of the struggle that Jesus would have to go through. Last Sunday we got a glimpse of his struggle in the desert where he was tempted by Satan, basically to abandon the mission the Father had given him. During Holy Week we will see his awful struggle in the Garden of Gethsemane and his cry from the Cross, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Each of us in some way has to share in that struggle, to let go of our own will in something big or small for the sake of others and to do what God want us to do.
Shahbaz Bhatti was living in a situation where he knew that God might ask him to give up his own life. Less than two months before his own death, Governor Salmaan Taseer of Punjab, a Muslim, was murdered by one of his own security guards because of his opposition to Pakistan's Blasphemy Law.
Mr Bhatti was deeply committed to working for groups discriminated against, including the Christian minority in Pakistan. He gave as the reason for his commitment, I just want a place at the feet of Jesus. I want my life, my character, my actions to speak for me and say that I am following Jesus Christ. He was gunned down on 2 March 2011.
About a month before his death he gave an interview on TV, the concluding part of which is in this video. Below the video is a transcript of what Mr Bhatti said.
Minister Bhatti, you forgot one question in the interview. Your life is threatened by whom and what sort of threats are you receiving?
The forces of violence, militant banned organizations, the Taliban, and Al Qaeda, they want to impose their radical philosophy on Pakistan. And whoever stands against their radical philosophy that threatens them, when I’m leading this campaign against the Sharia Law, for the abolishment [abolition] of [the] Blasphemy Law, and speaking for the oppressed, marginalized and persecuted Christian and other minorities, these Taliban threaten me.
But I want to share that I believe in Jesus Christ who has given his own life for us. I know what is the meaning of [the] Cross and I am following of the Cross and I am ready to die for a cause. I’m living for my community and suffering people and will die to defend their rights. So these threats and these warnings cannot change my opinion and principles. I will prefer to die for my principle and for the justice of my community rather to compromise on these threats.
May each of us pray for the grace to make these words of Shahbaz Bhatti our own: I just want a place at the feet of Jesus. I want my life, my character, my actions to speak for me and say that I am following Jesus Christ.
Christ in the House of Mary and Martha (detail)
Velásquez [Web Gallery of Art]
I just want a place at the feet of Jesus. (Shahbaz Bhatti).