Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Homily for 8/19/07 - Transfiguration

Expand Messages
  • Fr David Moser
    Matthew 17:1-9 Jesus, knowing that the final days of His earthly life were drawing near wanted to give His disciples some kind of encouragement, something that
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 19, 2007
    • 0 Attachment
      Matthew 17:1-9

      Jesus, knowing that the final days of His earthly life were drawing near
      wanted to give His disciples some kind of encouragement, something that
      would help them not only in the trial of his crucifixion but also
      afterward, after He had ascended into heaven. He knew that they would
      face many trials and difficulties, even imprisonment, torture and
      martyrdom. He knew that they would see His Resurrection and so would
      begin to realize that death was no longer anything to fear as He had
      conquered death. He knew that they would begin to grasp the reality of
      the Kingdom of God through this and the reality of their own spiritual
      life. However He wanted to give them a glimpse of what was to come for
      them so that they could experience the reality of the Kingdom of God for
      themselves, rather than just knowing about it and believing that it
      existed. This experience of the Kingdom of God is what we celebrate
      today in the feast of our Lord’s Transfiguration.

      We too need this encouragement. It is often a temptation to let our
      faith become simply words that we say and rules that we follow. When
      this happens, we forget the goal for which we struggle, we begin to be
      tempted with thoughts of despair even, thinking of this heavy burden
      that we have taken on and this way of life that creates more difficulty
      that it seems to be worth. But today renews for us the reality of our
      destiny, shows us again what it is we are working towards. While the
      Resurrection is the means of our salvation, the Transfiguration reveals
      to us the fruit of our salvation. This is the reality to which we look
      forward. We struggle to become “like Christ” but often without fully
      realizing what that means. Today we are reminded that to be “like
      Christ” is not only to follow His path through this life, but also to be
      with Him in glory, to know Him as He truly is and to ascend to the
      heights of heaven to be with Him. Today we get a glimpse of heaven, we
      get a foretaste of glory. Today we are reminded of our own destiny and
      shown again the fruits of our labors.

      Jesus took three of his disciples, Peter, James and John, and withdrew
      with them to the top of Mt Tabor to pray. There, He revealed His true
      nature to them. Truly Peter had already stated that Jesus was the
      Christ, the Son of God, but until now the reality of that statement was
      not yet realized. Here, on the top of the mountain, Jesus showed Himself
      to these disciples as He truly is. Here the cloak hiding the fullness of
      His divinity was removed and they beheld Him as God. He was shining with
      a great light – not that light was shining upon Him from somewhere else,
      but that it was emanating from within Him for He is the light of the
      world. And this great light nearly blinded the disciples, but as they
      grew accustomed to it, they saw not Jesus alone but also the prophets
      Moses and Elijah with Him as His servants. These two prophets help us to
      understand that Jesus was not only another of the Prophets, but He is
      the One Whom the prophets themselves serve and worship. Also we are
      reminded that Moses and Elijah represent the living and dead – for Moses
      had died and was buried while Elijah was taken up alive into heaven and
      had not yet tasted death. And so we know that Jesus Christ is the
      salvation of those who are alive on the earth at this moment as well as
      those who have gone before us and have completed their lives on this
      earth. This is the reality of the Kingdom of God to which we are called.
      We shall not only live in the presence of Christ, but we will share in
      His glory, just as did Moses and Elijah. Peter, James and John also came
      into this heavenly experience to remind them that they too were destined
      to share in this heavenly life, even while here on earth.
      Why did our Lord only take three disciples with Him for this. There are
      many reasons given, however, one is that not all the disciples were yet
      able to survive the experience. Remember that Peter, James and John –
      the three disciples who were closest to Christ – were themselves so
      overwhelmed by this that they were physically thrown down and their
      senses were completely overwhelmed. They were just barely ready to see
      this. By this we are also reminded of the purpose of our Christian life,
      all of our struggles, all of our preparations, all of our self denial.
      The purpose is to prepare us to be able to participate in the heavenly
      life. As it is we are ourselves so filled with the effects of sin, that
      is with corruption, that we could not begin to even perceive this glory,
      let alone participate in it. But the life of the Church slowly leads us
      along the path of salvation by which we overcome the passions, by which
      we purge from our lives the corruption that is the effect of sin, by
      which the virtues are nurtured in us and by which we aquire the Holy
      Spirit so that we are able to enter into the unveiled presence of God
      and not only to observe Him, but to commune with Him and participate in
      His life in heaven. Even in this life, we have seen that some of the
      saints have come to the point of experiencing in their own lives the
      glory of the Transfiguration. Our own St Seraphim was one of those as we
      see in the account of his conversation with Nicholas Motovilov.
      Motovilov describes the scene during their conversation when he could
      not look at St Seraphim’s face for from it was emanating a bright light
      – the divine light of the transfiguration – and that he himself was
      bathed in this light and by the prayers of the saint experienced it.
      This is only one of many accounts of how the life we live in the Church
      leads to the experience of the Kingdom of God and our own
      transfiguration not only in the next life, but in this life as well.

      The Kingdom of God is not in the future for us, it is our present
      existence. We are too blind and too deaf to perceive it yet. But as we
      follow after Christ, as we pursue Him on the path of salvation, our
      blindness and deafness begin to fall away and we get a hint or a glimpse
      occasionally and those who have progressed far on this path of salvation
      through a lifetime of following Christ to the exclusion of all else
      actually experience a foretaste of the Kingdom of God fully even while
      yet living on the earth.

      Today we are reminded of our goal – what it is we are working towards.
      This is not only our goal, but our destiny. We were created by God in
      order to share in this very life in the Kingdom of God. We live in the
      midst of this glory and this divine light even now, but we are still do
      not have the eyes to see and the ears to hear so that we might perceive
      this life fully. We get hints and glimpses as we follow Christ – but
      these are only a fraction of the full awareness of the life in which we

      Let us then live the life given to us by the Church with more purpose,
      with more vigor and strength, with more dedication for now on this day,
      we see what it is we are striving for. We are not merely escaping the
      flames of hell out of fear, but more importantly we are gaining the life
      and light of Christ Whom we love. Today we see as though in a mirror
      darkly, but in heaven we shall see Him face to face in all of His glory.
      Let us then prepare with even more zeal for that day that we might be
      prepared and ready to live in the Kingdom of God.

      Archpriest David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      Website: http://stseraphimboise.org
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.