November 20, 2022
(Second Sunday of Lent – The Transfiguration)
March 13, 2022
See video of this homily
GOSPEL READING STARTS AT 16:23
HOMILY STARTS AT 18:23
Jesus took Peter, John, and James
and went up the mountain to pray.
While he was praying his face changed in appearance
and his clothing became dazzling white.
And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah,
who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus
that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.
Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep,
but becoming fully awake,
they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.
As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus,
“Master, it is good that we are here;
let us make three tents,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
But he did not know what he was saying.
While he was still speaking,
a cloud came and cast a shadow over them,
and they became frightened when they entered the cloud.
Then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”
After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone.
They fell silent and did not at that time
tell anyone what they had seen.
So, it feels a little strange being up here in front of a Sunday Mass. It’s been a while since I’ve been here, and I almost feel like I need to kind of re-introduce myself. That’s how long I’ve been gone.
Just real quick, if y’all don’t mind, not volunteering for anything, just raise your hands, real quick. Everybody? You’re not volunteering for anything… Everybody who’s just raised your hands just voted for me as your favorite Deacon. [Turning to Fr Pat] Two years and I’m still your favorite Deacon. That’s so important.
Today I’m just kind of looking back on my time that I was away. For five months I was not able to come and be part of any of this, and its difficult when this is part of your life. I had a lot of time to reflect on who I was, and where I was going, and what I believed, and so on and so forth. And during that time, I, to be honest with you, I was transformed. Not just in the fact that I became much more aware of who I was and became aware of how important time is in our lives, but, I mean, I changed. I’m only about 2/3 of the person I used to be. So, if you are looking for a diet, I can tell you a heart attack will do it. I’m not recommending you try that. But I changed, physically. So, I have been transformed.
Today, in the Gospel, we hear that Jesus is transfigured. What’s the difference because they are not the same. I can be transformed. I’m still the same even though I may be smaller, even though I may talk differently, even though I may believe differently, I’m still the same person.
But Jesus became something greater. That’s transfigured. He became something greater. He became, today in front of 3 apostles, He became known as the Son of God because God speaks to them from the cloud. And He says, “This is my favored Son.” And its important that we understand that because the Transfiguration is very important.
Do you remember last year after Easter we began the upward arc of the story of Jesus? And we know that as He starts to head back to Jerusalem, which is the place where He is going to be crucified, He’s going to be placed into a tomb. We know that that’s coming. The apostles did not know that. So why is it important today to talk about the Transfiguration? Because the Apostles are going to be left on their own when Jesus ascends. And so, He brings 3 of the 4. Remember the story arc. In the beginning, He’s on the shore of Galilee, and He calls 4 Apostles. He calls Peter and Andrew. And then He calls James and John. Then he calls 3 of them – I don’t know where Andrew happens to be today in this Gospel – but I know that Peter, James and John are there. Why those 3 Apostles?
Those 3 Apostles are core. They’re the ones that He trusts the most, the first ones that He called, the ones that He knows will be leaders once He’s gone. And so, it’s important that He makes sure that the revelations of Him in His glorified body, they’re there to witness it. And it’s important to take note also in the fact that Elijah and Moses are there talking. And why is that a big deal? Nobody ever really explains that. The reason is because Moses is the Law Giver while Elijah is the Greatest Prophet. And while they’re talking there, Jesus is there, and everything the law and the teaching all culminate in Jesus Christ.
All of this is happening without us really knowing that it’s happening. Its important that we understand that we have to take advantage of our time. You can’t take time and just throw it away. Now, there was a great teacher in the 4th century who taught a lot of the love that Jesus taught. His name was Buddha. And Buddha was asked one time, “What is the greatest mistake that we make in life?” And Buddha says, “The greatest mistake that we make in life is thinking that we have time”. And he says “Even though time is free, its priceless. Even though we can’t own it, we get to use it. And even if we can’t keep it, if we can’t store it up, we still get to spend it.” Young people here today, I want you to pay special attention to the last thing that he says here. He says that once it’s gone, we can never get it back. Taken from somebody who has lost family members. I’ve lost my mom, my dad, and two of my sisters. I would love to have time to go back and spend it with them. But I can’t. That time is gone. So, don’t ever in your life, just take something for granted. Time is a very, very important commodity in our life.
The Apostles believed that Jesus was going to be with them physically from that point forward. But they found out that once they laid Him in the tomb, they didn’t have any more time. This time of reconciliation, what we call Lent, it is a time for us to take our time and to go back and look at our lives, and to hopefully be able to reconcile ourselves with God. It doesn’t mean that we’ll never make another mistake, certainly. But it gives us an opportunity. And while you’re in this time, we will not be able to be transfigured. At least, at the very least, we can be transformed.