Thursday, August 6, 2015
Evidence for and importance of the Transfiguration: Daily Mass Homily--Thursday, August 6th, 2015
(Listen to this homily here).
We celebrate a fascinating feast today, commemorating the moment in which Jesus allowed his divinity to really shine through his humanity.
Now, when we hear the readings today, we have them side-by-side in our Lectionary. Even in the Bible, the narrative of the Transfiguration from Matthew and St. Peter’s allusion to it are only a few pages apart. But I want to point out how Peter is attesting to the reality of the Transfiguration across time and space. Remember, this event happened in Jesus’ life—near the year 30 AD. Matthew didn’t write his Gospel account until around 60 AD. Peter wrote even later. These accounts were written by different men at different times and in different places.
Yet listen again to how Peter describes what happened on Mount Tabor: “We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we [Peter, James and John] had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that unique declaration came to him from the majestic glory, ‘This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’ We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain.” This is almost verbatim to what Matthew reported! Peter is offering testimony to the truth of the Transfiguration. Interestingly enough, secularists and atheists often claim we Christians believe in fairy-tales or myths, and Peter denounces such a perspective head on.
Another point for you today—we know that Jesus’ mission was to die for our sins. This is the number one thing we must know about him. Yet linked intimately with this mission is the identity of Jesus Christ—that he is true God and true man. As Jesus was obedient to the will of his Father, we see in the Scriptures—over and over again—Jesus’ claim to be God. As he traveled around Galilee he did so in his teaching, forgiveness, healing and combating evil. He did so in a particular way as he allowed himself to be transfigured—allowing his divinity to shine through his humanity—as a proof that he was and is God.We do not follow cleverly devised myths. We follow Jesus Christ, who is true God and true man.