Homily for August 6th, 201, The Transfiguration: 2 Pet. 1:16-19; Luke 9.28b-36.
The mysterious event which we celebrate today, called the Transfiguration, gives a glimpse, however brief, into eternity. For a moment, before the descent of the cloud, the three friends of Jesus see their friend and Master transformed beyond anything they could have imagined. It was as if his humanity had no limits.
“We were eyewitnesses of his majesty,” Peter writes in our second reading.” The Transfiguration is a manifestation of Christ’s divinity, for a moment breaking through the veil of his humanity. But it is more. It also shows us our potential to become divine.
If the goal of the spiritual life is to grow in likeness to God, then the more we progress, the more we participate in God’s own life. When our journey reaches its end, and we have been stripped of all the obstacles to holiness, God’s life will become our life, and we shall be one with God. Then our earthly pilgrimage beneath an often overcast sky will yield to the uninterrupted vision of God’s glory. We too shall shine with an unearthly light — the light that shines from the face of Jesus Christ: our Master, our Savior, our Redeemer — but also our passionate lover, and our best friend. We shall have reached our true homeland, the heavenly city which (as we read in Revelation) needs neither sun nor moon, “for the glory of God gives it light, and the lamp is the Lamb” (Rev. 21.23).
As we journey onward to our heavenly homeland the words of an Evangelical hymn, unknown to Catholics, can help us:
Cast your eyes upon Jesus, / Look full in his wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim /
in the light of his glory and grace.
Now, however, is the time above all for hearing. We listen for the Father’s voice and heed his command, as he speaks to us the words first uttered to those three friends of Jesus on the mountain two thousand years ago:
“This is my beloved Son, on whom my favor rests. Listen to him.”