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The Transfiguration – Homily

2nd Sunday in Lent, Year C
Genesis 15:5-12, 17-19
Philippians 3:17-4:1
Luke 9:28b-38
February 24, 2013

The Lord leads Abraham (Abram) outside to look at the stars but it is not a simple night to gaze at the stars.  It is a profound event.

Picture the stars.  Think about counting them.  How many are there?  Too vast to count.  Think of the immensity of the universe.

God is the creator of the universe.  As its creator, God is infinite.  God is present in all of that.

But God isn’t showing Abraham the stars just to say look how great He is.

Abraham and Sarah have no children as this point.  God is establishing a promise to Abraham that he will have a son.  In fact, not just one son, but descendants as numerous as the stars.  This includes Isaac and his descendants but not just biologically.  All of us who believe in the one true God are spiritual descendants of Abraham.

The rest of this passage is God establishing a covenant with Abraham to fulfill the promise of an heir.

Think about the vastness of the stars and what it says about God.  God is infinite and yet He is concerned about us.  God loves each and every one of us.  In His love, God draws us all into a covenant with Him, a covenant formed in our Baptism.

We are baptized because of our faith in Jesus as the Son of God, consubstantial with the Father.

Today’s story of the Transfiguration is told us to help us understand how Jesus is the Son of God and part of that greatness.  God wants us to understand this.

Often Jesus goes off to pray by himself but this time he takes Peter, James, and John with him.  As Jesus prays, Peter, James, and John fall asleep. They awaken to something incredible.

We are told that Jesus’ clothing became dazzling white.  White is a sign of purity.  That’s why we wear white at our baptism.

But with Jesus, the dazzling white is much more.  It reveals his divine nature as the Son of God.  It reveals his glory.  It reveals what it is to come as Paul writes, “He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body.”

Jesus’ Transfiguration alone is incredible and should be enough for us to believe but that isn’t all.

Then, Moses and Elijah appeared.  This is no trivial point.  Moses is the one who delivered the Law given by God.  His presence affirms Jesus as the fulfillment of the Law.

Elijah is one of the great prophets.  His presence affirms Jesus as the fulfillment of all the prophecies.

Jesus is the Messiah!

Peter and the others are so struck by this they aren’t sure what to do.  Peter, always eager, says that they will build three tents for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah.  Sounds like a strange thing perhaps but I can’t help but think that Peter is so amazed by what he is seeing that he doesn’t know what to say but very much wants to capture the greatness of the moment.

Yet, the scene is not yet finished.  A cloud comes down upon them, a frightening experience.  But while they are within that cloud, one more thing happens.

A voice, but not just any voice, but God’s voice calls out, “This is my chosen Son, listen to him.”

Jesus is the Son of God!

Incredible.

Nothing short of incredible!

Think about seeing Jesus transfigured.  What does it mean to you?  Think not with just your brain but with your heart (faith and reason).  What does it mean for us to profess Jesus as Messiah and Son of God?

It should mean everything.

What does it mean to you to know that Jesus is our Messiah and Son of God?  What difference does it make for you?

Yes, I ask what difference does it make for you.  Certainly, it gives us hope of the heavenly kingdom.  But do we live any differently knowing Jesus?

I think this is what we need to be asking ourselves for Lent.  What difference does knowing Jesus make for me?  Do it change the way I live my life?  Would people be shocked to learn I am Catholic?

Getting to Heaven is not simply saying Jesus is Son of God.  It requires us to live as we believe.  That means seeking God’s will over own.  Do we?

 

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