Changed By The Transfiguration
February 11, 2024:
Readings: 1 Kings 19: 9-18
2 Peter 1:16-19
7th Sunday After Epiphany 2024 Homily – Abp. Hines
Jesus has left Nazareth and now working with His disciples, doing what God wants Him to do. He often prays alone on a mountain or an isolated place. But this time, we see Him bringing Peter, James and John with Him to the mountain. It must have taken them days to reach the top of the mountain. (Known to be Mount Hermon). When they reached there, they began to pray. While they were praying, Jesus’ countenance changed and became very white. He clearly understood the purpose of why He was sent by the Father. This is where He was going to make His decision to fulfill the great task ahead. As His countenance continues to become dazzlingly white, Moses and Elijah appeared. Why Moses? Because he was the one who brought the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt, where he spent 40 years with them in the wilderness. History tells us that to this day, no one has seen the grave of Moses. Elijah, on the other hand, went into hiding after Jezebel was hunting him and wanted him dead because he shamed the prophets of Baal. Scripture tells us that he was taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire. Peter, in his emotional and impulsive state, tells Jesus: “let us make three tabernacles here; one for you, one for Moses, one for Elijah.” Then a cloud appeared and covered them. A voice said, “This is My Beloved Son, listen to Him.” This sets an awareness to us during both His baptism and now His transfiguration. When Moses and Elijah could not be seen anymore, Jesus’ countenance returned to normal.
The cloud is an evidence of God’s presence: When Moses went up the mountain, there was a cloud symbolizing God’s presence. When the Tabernacle was being built, the cloud was there too. It also appeared during the day time when the children of Israel were in the wilderness, to protect them and lead them as to whereto go.
The Kingdom needs to be seen. It is not enough to just believe or have faith, it has to be lived out. Matthew 24:34 “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” Christ knew exactly what He was sent to do. He volunteered Himself and never complained. When they were coming down from the mountain, He tells His disciples not to tell anyone what had happened until after His resurrection. The disciples were instructed not to divulge this to anyone. Christ wanted them to continue the task after He was gone. We never see Christ uttering words in anger in retaliation against His enemies. He showed love and compassion and forgiveness. The character of Christ should be seen in us. He has demonstrated His life and shown to us what we should be.