Saint Matthew's Church, Voorheesville New York Home   |   Contact   |   Directions

25 Mountainview Street
Voorheesville, New York 12186
Phone (518) 765-2805
Fax (518) 765-3701

Our Mission Statement
Our Mission Statement

Pastor's weekly message

On the first Sunday of Lent (last week) we read Matthew's story of Jesus resisting the temptations of Satan in the desert. This week we encounter Jesus on a high mountain with Peter, James and John, his disciples, as the Lord is transfigured before them. In this transfigured state Jesus meets and talks with Moses and Elijah. Quite a contrast. Last week Jesus is suffering in the desert and tempted by Satan. This week he is transformed before a few of his followers and is seen as the Son of God.

Each year, on the second Sunday of Lent (this Sunday), the church gives us the reading of the Transfiguration. This year we read Matthew's version, next year we read Mark's and the following year Luke's. Although there are minor differences in each account, the basic story is the same. Jesus is transformed before three of his followers and in that transfigured state meets and talks with Moses and Elijah. His disciples are confused, amazed, and frightened. For all three of our Gospel writers Moses and Elijah symbolize the Jewish law (Moses) and the prophets (Elijah). The image of Jesus in conversation with them implies that Jesus has come to fulfill and transcend both the Law and the prophets. Matthew's Gospel is written for a largely Jewish community that has come to believe that Jesus is indeed the Messiah for whom they have been waiting as Jews. Matthew reinforces that belief by recounting this Transfiguration story. However, Matthew also challenges his fellow Jews to understand that Jesus is more than Moses and Elijah, he is the Son of God.

Jaroslav Pelikan (1923 - 2006), a Lutheran theologian, when he described how Protestants and Catholics approach theology (thinking about God) said that when Protestants encounter the paradoxes of the Bible they use the conjunction "or" and try to understand which of the two contrary principles is the correct one. Pelikan said that Catholics, when encountering the paradoxes of the Bible, use the conjunction "and" and call it a "mystery". No one approach is better than the other; they are just different. If we use Pelikan's principle in the Transfiguration reading, Protestants will try to understand whether Jesus has come to fulfill the Law and the prophets OR transcend them with something new. Protestant's will read this passage as a challenge to either see Jesus fulfilling ancient Judaism or starting something radically new. You can see that this approach will color the way different Protestant churches will relate to the Jews. Different Protestant communities will either respect Judaism as its own religion or want to convert all Jews to Christianity. Catholics understand this reading of the Transfiguration as Jesus coming to fulfill the Law and the prophets of the Jews AND begin something new. It's a mystery. This understanding allows the Catholic Church to reverence Judaism as a true religion in its own right and from which Jesus is born and taught AND is the religion from which Jesus has begun to do something new in us who have come to know him as the Messiah.

This second Sunday of Lent invites us to the mountain top to ponder Jesus who both fulfills and transcends all that has come before us.

Fr. Chris

Mass Schedule
Saturday Vigil at 5:00 PM
Sunday at 8:30 and 10:30 AM
Tues, Wed, and Fri at 8:30 AM
Rosary and Novena
Monday at 6:30 PM
(September through May)
Saturday at 4:00 PM
(or by appointment)
Office Hours
Monday - Friday 9 AM to 3 PM