The final Luminous Mystery is the Institution of the Eucharist. This takes place at the Last Supper and is featured in all the Gospels. The fruit of the mystery is Adoration. This is one of the high points of our faith that we remember at each and every mass, “Take Eat, Take Drink, Do this in memory of me.” That’s the Last Supper in a nutshell and all to often we forget to show reverence to this idea. Let us all remember that this is the seed of our faith. Without this event we’d all be some other religion now and sure numbers of the faithful are falling across the world but we can bring out awe and wonder out into it. Sharing our joy in the Eucharistic banquet table we all we sit at one day.
The fourth decade of the luminous mysteries is the Transformation. If you remember this was the Gospel reading this past Sunday. Now the story is in all the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 17:1–8, Mark 9:2–8, Luke 9:28–36) and is referenced in the second letter of Peter (2 Peter 1:16–18). Jesus took Peter and “The Sons of Thunder” James and John up to a mountain where Jesus turned radiant and there appeared Moses and Elijah who conversed with Jesus. The fruit of this mystery is a Desire for holiness. At the Transfiguration Peter wanted to build tents for Moses/Elijah/Jesus but you can’t stay up on top of the mountain in your mountaintop experience. We need to go out for there and hope to one day glimpse the pureness of holiness when we need it. Even Jesus told Peter, James and John not to tell anyone of what had happened before the Son of Man had risen. All to often the faithful dwell in the mountain top and look down on those who have sinned or live a different lifestyle than they approve of, look at all the talk about Fr. James Martin’s new book about building a bridge between the LGBT community and the church. As Jesus say let whomever is without sin cast the first stone.
The third luminous mystery is a bit harder to exactly pin point in the Bible since it is in all the Gospels several time, “Repent for the Kingdom is at hand” is the general message from Jesus about the Kingdom. The fruit of this mystery is Trust in God. The beatitudes give us a nice set of guidelines blessed are the poor in spirit or the poor for their is the kingdom of God. This is a radical thing to think of being “poor” when everyone else in society only wants to get rich. However I find that you learn more from things that cost you less and you get more from these experiences that earn you little. Let us all try to trust more in God this upcoming week and try to bring about the Kingdom here on earth.
The second Luminous mystery is the wedding feast at Cana, the place where the first miracle took place. It is found in John’s Gospel (2:1-11) the story goes that Jesus and Mary were invited to a wedding and the party ran out of wine. Mary told Jesus to do something about this and he said “My hour has not yet come”, so Mary goes to the servants and tells them to do what he tells you. The servants fill up containers with water and then give it to the chief steward. The steward after tasting it goes to the bridegroom remarks that usually the best wine is usually served first. The fruit of this mystery is to Jesus through Mary. The whole Mary thing is a tough part for Christians to understand about Catholics but Mary is a conduit between mankind and to Jesus. As these words of Mary are the last time we hear from her in the Bible “Do whatever he tells you.” This is something that we need to remember we need to listen to what Jesus says.
We have made our way through one of the mysteries and now it is on to the newest one introduced by Pope John Paul II in his apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (October 2002). These are the Luminious mysteries or mysteries of Light. The first Luminious mystery is the Baptism of Jesus. It can be found in the three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) where we hear from the sky “This is/You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” and in John’s Gospel while it doesn’t have the baptism story it does have John the Baptist testifying about Jesus saying that “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.” The fruit of the mystery is openness to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is something that we all should be praying for to come into our lives and inspire all our actions.
The fifth and final Luminous Mystery is the Institution of the Eucharist. This happened at the Last Supper so it’s perfect timing with Lent starting next Wednesday. If we remember that the word eucharist comes from the Greek and means thanksgiving or grateful. This is where we need to come from as we live our lives sure the world seems to suck but if we can go out there being thankful for another day and grateful to be alive. Let us remember the words of Jesus “Do this in memory of me” now this wasn’t just the sharing of the bread and wine but it points toward the general idea of giving of oneself for others just like Jesus does. The Eucharist and therefore the sacrifice of Jesus is the core of the Christian faith. This should be our focus during Lent to be more grateful and willing to sacrifice for others.
As we turn to the fourth luminous mystery, we reflect upon the Transfiguration. This is an event that seems like it would be interesting to actually be there, with Jesus, Moses and Elijah all coming together and talking to one another. It show that Jesus didn’t come to replace the Law or the Prophets but to add to them. All to often we like to think of Christianity as something completely different from the Jewish faith and in turn the Islamic faith as well. These other religions are our siblings so we should try to understand them at least a little bit better than most of us currently do. I’m sure many of us would be like Peter and would want to experience to last forever but it can’t while we are alive. We get brief mountaintop experience in our lives but we can’t stay there forever as if we did nothing gets done. Let us all think of our spiritual lives as a mountain that we are climbing sure some people we are all at different levels of our journey sure some climb faster and higher but we are all trying to get higher each year. Let us all take some time before Lent to look at our spiritual lives and see where we are and how we can improve.
We have made it to the third luminous mystery. This is a difficult one since it isn’t a single event that we can point to as “The Proclamation” Jesus does this in various ways notably in the parables. There are a bunch of parables just focusing on the Kingdom of God, the sower, the mustard seed, the pearl of great price, the hidden treasure, the leaven, and the growing seed are all great examples. In most of these the focus is on some small object a seed or yeast or some great treasure that although is small the individual takes all that they have to get the treasure or grows into something much larger. At the Easter Vigil we see this as the Pascal Candle is lit and from that single fire every candle in the church is lit as we pass on the fire up the rows of pews. Sure we all are hoping for the Kingdom to come but perhaps it is here in our small action (works of mercy) that we need to pass on to one another. Let us all keep this in mind as we begin our Lenten journey in about a month.
As we continue our way through John Paul II’s additional mysteries to the Rosary. The second Luminous Mystery we hear about the first miracle and the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus. Here we have Mary and Jesus at some wedding, and they have run out of wine, which is a small problem. As the story goes Mary informs Jesus that the wine is running out he snaps back with “What concern is that to me, my time has not yet come.” Then Mary tells the servants to do as Jesus tells them. Jesus tells them to fill the empty purification jars with water and take it to the chief steward. The remarkable thing here is that Jesus doesn’t touch the water or really do anything to it yet it turns into the finest wine of the evening.
Now, Pope Benedict offers a unique observation of this miracle in his book, Jesus of Nazareth, saying that the miracle of producing a lot of wine for a wedding can be seen as a sign of the greatness of the love we find at the core of salvation history: “God lavishly spends himself for the lowly creature, man. (…) The superabundance of Cana is therefore a sign that God’s feast with humanity, his self-giving for man, has begun”. This in a way points toward the heavenly banquet where all are welcome. We also have an interesting role for Mary as it is where she always is pointing us towards Jesus. She is our signpost in life on our path toward heaven. I hope that we all can take Mary’s advice and do whatever he (Jesus) says.
We begin once again looking at the decades of the Rosary and before we move on to the Sorrowful ones during Lent. We look at the newest one, given to up by Pope John Paul II. A couple of weeks ago we hear that John was baptizing in the Jordan and crowds were coming to be baptized. Jesus himself comes and after the water was poured over his head there was a dove and a voice syaing “This is my beloved son, listen to him”. When we were baptized whenever that was we shared in this event, God is pleased with us, for many though we were baptized as infants and have no idea what all happened.Let us all go out into the world showing the Holy Spirit to the world so that it can help transform the world to a better place. With so much negativity around the world let us take the high road and show that we are the children of God who he is pleased with.