Feast of the Transfiguration (Pentecost IX)

August 6, 2017

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. AMEN.

This year, the Feast of the Transfiguration falls on a Sunday and we celebrate it today!  This Feast Day remembers what has been to me a puzzling event recorded in the Gospels.  It tells of a moment when Jesus, having with Him a select group of disciples – Peter, James, and John – is praying and His appearance changes.  He becomes glowing white.  Not only this, but Moses and Elijah speak with Him.

I will tell you some of the things that I have focused on in the past.  First, that Peter, James, and John were sleeping when most of this was happening.  And it seems that the Disciples often slept at major moments in their lives with Jesus.  How often do we sleep through things that the Lord is trying to do in our lives?

Second, Moses and Elijah represent the Law and the Prophets.  Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets. 

Third, I have focused on how St. Peter wanted to build booths, so as to capture this amazing moment.  How often do we want to try to put times of deep spiritual meaning in a box so that we can go back to that feeling whenever we want?  But you and I know that it just does not work that way.

You have now gotten three mini-sermons for free!

But today, I would like to focus on the question of why this event happened?  What does it represent for Jesus and then what does it mean for us?

As I did research I found that some scholars believe that the Transfiguration was a sort of preview of Jesus’ resurrection.  Not to be flippant about it, but it is sort of like going to watch a movie and seeing a trailer of coming attractions.

What about the transfiguring moments in our lives?  Perhaps we are like the disciples and sleep through them.  Not literally, but figuratively.  I know that I am not ancient, but I have gotten to a place in my life when I take time to reflect on what I have done in the past.  I become more aware of little things that have made a big difference.  These moments of transfiguration are ones which may have gone unnoticed.

Then there are the moments of transfiguration which happen in the wilderness.  These are the hard times in our lives which help to form us into who we are, but which we would never choose to relive.  I think that we all of have these moments.

And then there are the moments which are significant and wonderful!  Those times in which we have felt so very close to God.  We would like to take those times and put them in a box so that when we feel like God is far away, we could just open it and feel that deep sense of closeness and love again.

Why do we have these transfiguring moment moments in our lives?  They do help to form us into who we are meant to be.  But perhaps they are for us what the Transfiguration was for Jesus and the Disciples who were present. 

Perhaps they are a trailer of coming attractions.  Perhaps they are meant to show us how God sees us.  Perhaps they are meant to help us remember that in Jesus, we are people of resurrection.  But the way in which we live our lives and the choices that we make often hide that truth from us.

Let us give thanks for the times of transfiguration in our lives – whatever form they take.  At times we had to suffer through them, at times they were so wonderful that we would love to wrap them up in a box to take with us.  But they are always reminders that we are a people of resurrection.  AMEN.