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Proclaiming the Kingdom in the splendor of the Son

On the Readings for Sunday, July 3, 2022

The Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro in April 2017. (Image: Robert Nyman |

• Is 66:10-14c
• Ps 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20
• Gal 6:14-18
• Lk 10:1-12, 17-20

Anyone who has seen a sunrise from a viewpoint overlooking a grand vista knows the wonder of seeing the contours of the earth revealed as the light washes over the landscape and chases away the shadows. A world once dark and confining becomes bright and expansive, and a sense of direction and place is enlivened.

In an analogous, but much more profound way, the Transfiguration of the Lord (Lk. 9:28-36) was the light that revealed to the disciples a world bright and expansive. It gave them a brief but life-changing glimpse into the splendor of the kingdom of God. “At His Transfiguration,” wrote St. Thomas Aquinas, “Christ showed his disciples the splendor of His beauty, to which He will shape and color those who are His…”

What does this have to do with today’s Gospel? A great deal, for everything that happened after the Transfiguration and led up to Christ’s Passion was illuminated and touched by the glory seen by Peter, James, and John. And while those three apostles kept silent about what they saw (Lk. 9:36), the Evangelist Luke wanted his readers to understand the landscape of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem in the light of that glorious event.

When Jesus appointed seventy-two men (or seventy, depending on the translation), he deliberately patterned his action after the selection of seventy elders by Moses. Those men were meant to share in the spirit given to Moses so that, as God told Moses, “they may share the burden of the people with you” (Num. 11:16-17). Earlier, Jesus had given the Twelve “power and authority” over demons and illness, then sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick (Lk. 9:1-6). Some of the Church fathers understood this as an establishment of apostolic authority, whereas the selection of the seventy pointed toward the establishment of the priesthood, for priests are co-workers who assist the bishops in their duties (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 886, 939).

But this action not only foreshadowed the priesthood, it revealed even further the prophetic, missionary character of Jesus’ work. Sent to proclaim the presence of the kingdom of the God, the disciples were given strict, even ascetic, directives: carry no money, carry no sandals, greet no one along the way. They were exhorted to elicit a response, a decision for or against Jesus and his message. “Jesus’ own understanding of his and his followers’ identity,” explains N.T. Wright in Jesus and the Victory of God (Fortress Press, 1996), “went far beyond the picture of a teacher of miscellaneous truths or maxims. The corporate identity of the new movement belonged firmly within the world of Jewish eschatological expectations.”

The kingdom of God is the fulfillment of those expectations about the meaning of history and God’s plan for mankind—and the Church is “the seed and beginning of this kingdom” (CCC, 567, 669). Christ established the kingdom by his preaching and his Passion, and he entrusted the message of the kingdom to the Twelve and to the Church so it would grow and so it could be seen for those with eyes to see. “In the word, in the works, and in the presence of Christ, this kingdom was clearly open to the view of men” (Lumen Gentium, 5).

But men will only see it if they turn toward the light of the Lord, humbling gazing, if you will, upon the Transfiguration so they might be transformed. This transformation, St. Paul told the Galatians, comes by the way of “the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,” which brings about a new creation. Paul’s blessing—“Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule”—was a direct continuation of the peace granted to those who accepted the disciples sent forth by Jesus: “Peace to this household.”

And every household that accepts Jesus is taken into the household of God, the Church, which Paul called “the Israel of God.” Within it, a world once dark and confining becomes bright and expansive.

(This “Opening the Word” column originally appeared in the July 4, 2010, edition of Our Sunday Visitor newspaper.)

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About Carl E. Olson 1197 Articles
Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight. He is the author of Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?, Will Catholics Be "Left Behind"?, co-editor/contributor to Called To Be the Children of God, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax (Ignatius), and author of the "Catholicism" and "Priest Prophet King" Study Guides for Bishop Robert Barron/Word on Fire. His recent books on Lent and Advent—Praying the Our Father in Lent (2021) and Prepare the Way of the Lord (2021)—are published by Catholic Truth Society. He is also a contributor to "Our Sunday Visitor" newspaper, "The Catholic Answer" magazine, "The Imaginative Conservative", "The Catholic Herald", "National Catholic Register", "Chronicles", and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @carleolson.


  1. Thank you for the verses presented and a glimpse the greatness of the God we serve.

    Allow me to offer a few more that add strength and increase our faith.

    John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

    Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

    Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

    Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,

    Blessings as you aid the follower of Christ to find purpose and conviction.

    • Dear Brian, thanks for key NT, 3rd Person perspectives on Carl’s nice meditation.

      In the same vein: Romans 8:9 & 11 – “But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Holy Spirit, since the Holy Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Holy Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him. – – – If the Holy Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through His Holy Spirit that dwells in you.”

      Carl and Brian: every blessing in the love of Jesus Christ, from marty

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