“THE LIGHTNINGS LIGHTENED THE WORLD”
Saint Matthew 17.1-9
The Transfiguration of Our Lord: 9 February Anno Domini 2014
Fr. Jay Watson SSP
In The Name + of Jesus
“In the beginning was The Word…in Him was life; and the life was the light of men…” (Jn. 1.1 ff)
The heathen religions and pagan cults all have powerful gods and deities. These sky fantasies are said to perform many incredible feats of power and grandeur…all of the time. The Lord, the only God, the real Creator, Justifier and Sanctifier, as Trinitarian Lord, is so awesome and transcendent that these pantheons and demi-heroes of false-believers dim into imbecility and total irrelevance. But His power did not so awe Adam that rebellion was stayed. And it was not with glory and omnipotence that salvation was wrought.
The first man’s sin required blood and sacrifice. Your sins, what you’ve done this very past week—what you’ve said, thought and done this morning—required blood and redemption!
Not the fire and roar of Mount Horeb…though He did “shine as the sun.” Not the cloud about to rain of Mount Carmel…though the Father did overshadow them with the “bright cloud” of His Presence. Not the fellowship and camp-banquet of the Mount of Beatitude where He fed the 5,000 in a miraculous multiplication of fishes and loaves…though He did feed Saint Moses, Law-Giver, and the greatest of the Prophets Saint Elias, with manna and bread from Ravens, and this day with reassuring words of His upcoming Exodus.
The Transfiguration showed the Disciples—the “inner three” just Who they would be Apostling for; Who they would be Ambassadors for—in the stead and by the command: Light of Light very God of very God! His whiteness would be there whiteness and all those who they would wash clean in His Blood and Water.
The Transfiguration changed The Nazarene’s outward demeanor and appearance but not His Person. He remained exactly what He was at His conception in the Virgin’s Womb and what He was at His Nativity in the lowly stable—the flesh and blood God/Man—The Second Person of The Trinity in the flesh! Incarnate Man, temporarily showing forth veiled Divinity stood with sandal-clad feet on a real hill-top at a real time, in front of real witnesses. Saint Simon Peter wrote for the Church of all ages: “…we have not followed cunningly devised fables…but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God The Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount.” [2 Pe. 2. 16-18]. The Galilean fisherman died horribly for this confession of the Christ which he would not retract or deny. The sons of Zebedee also were martyred for the Truth of the Revelation of the God/Man and His Incarnation. They, the “sons of Thunder” knew well the story of Elias and the prophets of Baal; they and Peter, knew well the story of Moses at the Top of Horeb, surrounded by fire, lightning, thunder, and deep smoke and clouds. But the Law and the Prophets, as important, real and typological as they were and are, pale in and bow to the fullness of the Glory of God in the face—the real, fleshly, human face of Mary’s Son and their earthly Rabbi—the Messias Emmanuel!
The Lord, flanked by the two greatest witnesses of Him in all of Hebrew writ—the physical embodiments of the Law—love God and love your neighbor—is The One Who did love, from mountain to + mountain. For “on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” [Mt. 22. 40] Yes, because He would hang off the ground pierced, scourged and immersed in the pit of sin, death, and hell for them, for the Disciples, and for all His flock.
Did St. Peter think the Eschaton (the end of time) had come and that Messias was ushering in the age of the Kingdom of God on earth? Did he only want to prolong a moment of awesome glory? Was he afraid being in the presence of God as he was at the miraculous draught of fish? Peter was a sinner just like all of you. He wanted heaven without the cost; he desired Easter without Good Friday. He wanted glory and not the cross. Jesus says to all of you “get behind me Satan.” Repent and believe!
David wanted to build the Temple and Peter wanted to build Three Tents…But Jesus would build a Mansion for them and all of you by re-building His Temple on the Third Day. A tent is secured by pegs driven into the ground and a temple is secured by pillars and superstructure driven into the earth. But the Temple of God was erected “for you” by the Tree that bore the bloody Body of God on the Mount called Calvaria, Kraniou (i.e. cranium), the “Place of the Skull.” Real flesh was driven into real wood.
Not the high-ground of Eden or of Sinai or of Carmel or even of Olivet at the Ascension. The mountain is Moriah where Abraham was to have sacrificed his dear Son. God provided the substitute, the salvation, with a ram caught in a thicket. At the same spot God provided The Paschal Lamb Jesus to be the atoning redemption for your sins and your sin, and the worlds trespasses. Caught in the thicket—the thorns, spikes and evils of all of you—He was Transfigured on the crucifix. And though the earth became dark and black, His love shone like the sun, whiter than any fuller’s soap—for you. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do;” It is finished—you are absolved!
You are Baptized and now your raiment is “white as the light.” Drink the whiteness, the Righteousness of His love and eat the pureness of His Body at Eucharist.
“…ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” [2 Pe. 19.b]
“This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” [Jn. 1.5-7]
In The Name of The Father and of The + Son and of The Holy Ghost