Transfiguration Human nature in the Midst of the Divine Luke 9:28-36. New Text Homily.

Transfiguration
Human nature in the Midst of the Divine
Luke 9:28-36
(The Gospel for Matins)
2008

 

http://www.orthodox.net/ikons/transfiguration-theophanes-01.jpg In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

We say today, brothers and sisters, that humanity can meet Divinity; Humanity can see Divinity; Humanity can be part of Divinity.

In the Old Testament Moses, saw the back parts of God; he was hidden in the cleft of a rock; he didn’t see that much [1]. But now, face to face, man is with God. Jesus Christ showing He is fully God, shining as the light.

Did you notice something in this historic and prophetic event? Moses and Elias, were conversing with Him, speaking of His decease: That was for the disciples to remember so that they would overwhelmed by the upcoming passion of our Lord.

 

What were Apostles doing? They were sleeping because it was late at night and they were tired. Man was in the midst of Divinity, Jesus was white as the light, shining as the sun,  and they were asleep. This indicates how easily we “sleep”, even when God is among us! We are sleepy because of our passions – O Lord, what are we missing? Divinity is right with us right now. We partake of the Holy Mysteries and Divinity is present. Wherever we go, God is with us and yet we don’t see Him.

 

They woke up, and then the cloud came, signifying the Holy Spirit, and the voice from the cloud, the Father. So this is like a Theophany just like the baptism of the Lord, declaring the Trinity, declaring God.

But then Moses and Elias saw Him and spoke with Him, and they were not frightened by the light, or the sound, or the cloud. This tells us, that we will eventually, even though at this moment our flesh is filled with sins and weakness and foolishness, we will be able to be with Divinity and not be afraid.

 

But the Apostles were not ready to be fully in the presence of Divinity. They still needed more seasoning, more training. So they were in the midst of Divinity, and for some of it they were asleep. So it is with us. We are in the midst of Divinity and we’re asleep. We’re more troubled about what’s going to happen today and tomorrow and the next day than we are about God being with us.

And of course, the Transfiguration shows us the future for us, not the future for God because all things are as one for God, the past, the future, the present. Jesus was always God. This was nothing new for Him.

This was the first time in history that man was to be able to be face to face with the Uncreated Light of God. They were afraid. They were not like Moses and Elias. It was too much for them. So it will take time for you and me to be able to be in the presence of Divinity and not be afraid.

 

And how is this? We know: to follow Christ, to become like Him. Moses and Elias were like Him, and they were comfortable around Him and at peace and not afraid.

We are trying to become like Him. And if our Lord Jesus Christ were to come to us now and shine in His Divinity, His Uncreated Light, we would be terrified because we are not ready yet. So this time of this light is getting ready, getting ready to see Christ as He is, not with the covering of humanity, but to see Him, His Humanity shining with Divinity because, after all, He is God as well as Man.

So, brothers and sisters, when you look at this story, let it give you some hope. Yes, it is a promise that we will see God.

But just see that they were frail men there on the mountain. First they were asleep and then they were afraid. Does it remind you of anybody? Reminds me of me. It should remind you of you.

But after a time what happened to those men? Their sound went forth over all the world. So it will be with us. We will be changed. But we have to live in the flesh a little bit and struggle a little bit in order to become able to see Divinity.

We see what happens when impure men see Divinity, they’re afraid. But later on, Peter spoke of this event with great affection, great longing, because he knew that he was soon going to, as he said, put off this tabernacle and be with the Lord, and he was looking forward with great expectation to seeing the Uncreated Light again, this time without fear [2].

So there’s the blueprint for our lives. Yes, the promise is there. But the promise only becomes reality for us if we live as Christians, and then we will see Divinity and not be afraid. Amen.

 

 

Luke 9:28-36 28 And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. 29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. 30 And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: 31 Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. 33 And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said. 34 While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. 35 And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. 36 And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2008.    

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[1] Exodus 33:11-23; 34:4-6, 8, read as the second of three readings (also called “Parables”) at Vespers for the Transfiguration. Here is an excerpt: “20 And again he said: Thou canst not see my face: for man shall not see me and live. 21 And again he said: Behold there is a place with me, and thou shalt stand upon the rock. 22 And when my glory shall pass, I will set thee in a hole of the rock, and protect thee with my right hand, till I pass: 23 And I will take away my hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face thou canst not see”

[2] 2 Peter 1:10-19, read at the Liturgy on the Transfiguration.

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