Mt 17:1-9 Listen To Him
It is good to be here! It is always good to be in the presence of the Lord. “The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth” (Ps 97:1a, 9a).
Today is the feast of the Lord’s Transfiguration. It is not his “transformation”. That is, it is not his changing into someone else. Rather, the transfiguration of our Lord is the revelation of his true being, his true essence, to all men.
Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. He took them up high so that there would be no distractions. Distractions have a way of dampening the moment and of diminishing the essence of things – the important things in life. Pope Benedict, in his book Jesus of Nazareth, writes, that the Lord took them up the mountain so that he could liberate them from the burden of everyday life. I look at this as an eloquent way of saying that the Lord wanted to lift up their heads, to look up, rather than to keep looking down. Far too many of us spend way too much time with our heads down, starring at the floor. The Lord must have felt that it was taking way too long for his men to convert, to transform into men of God. The Lord transfigures. Men must be transformed! “It is no longer I who live in me, but Christ who lives in me.”
The Apostles may have suffered from another type of distraction: to see things microscopically; which means to not see things for what they truly are, and how they truly fit in. The daily grind of human affairs distracts us from the daily business of God’s universe and its purpose.
Faith in God is so simple. Only complicated philosophical thinking can obscure the simplicity of faith. Faith in God really means having less faith in oneself. And we all know that this flies smack in the face of our modern way of thinking. We don’t ask questions like Socrates, we tell people what we think. We have become experts in everything, only to change every ten years! We think of progress as having passed a test. What we don’t care to say is that we have changed the test so that we could pass it! What was once dysfunctional will always be dysfunctional, but since we can’t do any better, we transfigure it by various names such as “reproductive rights”, “selective reduction”, “an emotional affair”, etc…
The transfiguration of our Lord is in preparation for the crucifixion of our Lord. The Lord is not glorified because of what he can do or what we can do for him. He is neither glorified because his friends build him up. It is not his friends that stroke his ego. It is not even his friends that give him a pat on the back and help him with positive feedback. The transfiguration of the Lord is simply the removing of a veil. It is the Presentation of the Lord. And no one will ever take that away from him, not even as he is being dragged through the allies of Jerusalem and nailed to a tree. He is who he is.
Christ knows himself and He wishes to reveal himself so that we can be more like him. “When Christ is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 Jn 3:2).
If you think about it, there is really very little that we actually know. We know our friends slightly. We know our neighbors less. But if we were to be honest with ourselves, we would have to say that we know ourselves the best, and we hardly know ourselves. We are a continual flux of emotions, a ball of wax easily melted away with the slightest heat of negativity.
In essence, the Lord’s transfiguration is nothing more than an invitation to listen to Him and to “come follow Him.” He transfigures before us so that he can transform within us, and He encourages us not to be transformed by our environment or by worldly things and people. There are many people that would love to take away your peace. Don't let them transform you! There are many that would love to ruin your day! Don't let them! Allow only the Lord to be the Master of your life, the transformer of your day and the glory of His Kingdom.