St. Silouan the Athonite Mission Parish

Sermons

Feast of the Transfiguration 2011
by Fr Roberto Ubertino

In the Gospels, we see Jesus often leaving the crowds and going up a mountain or a deserted place to be alone and to pray. Sometimes like today He takes with him his closets disciples. Peter John and James his brother, the sons of Zebedee. We all have places that are very personal and meaningful, places where we return either in thought or in actuality, where part of who we are feels at home. We like to share this place with those who are close to us because it helps them to better understand who we are. We need to have such high places in our lives.

 

Like with the disciples it is in this high place that we discover one another, and sort out what can be the chaos of life. Jesus allows his disciples to share in his prayer and today they see him as he always is. They where changed not the Lord.

 

They enter the luminous dark cloud of the Divine Presence; they hear the voice of the Father; they find themselves in the embrace of delight, of perfect pleasure that is the life of the Holy Trinity. They see the beauty of the Lord.

 

We all have at some point in our lives had little such experiences of transfiguration – the familiar, the well-known all at once seen in its true light. A familiar face that becomes full of light and joy, a particular difficult situation that inexplicably is resolved, the sense of our life as mystery, the experience of a deep communion between two people, looking at the Milky Way …

 

The transfiguration of Christ is a permanent event in the Church and the world.

 

The church prays for this transfiguration event to be present among us before each Gospel reading, Shine in our hearts loving master, the pure light of your divine knowledge, that we may comprehend the message of the gospel for you are the light of f our souls and bodies ….

 

Also in our life God in his infinite grace allows us at times to have tiny, tiny glimpses of this light. I can’t speak about the experience of the saints since I do not know them personally, but like you I can read about them in their lives. But the transfiguration of Christ is not a mystical experience, for the elect few, a Buddhist kind of illumination. The transfiguration is clearly about the cross and the cross is about the transfiguration. The same three disciples of Jesus in the same Gospel will witness his agony in the garden. And the conversation with Elijah and Moses are about the passion and the cross. We see revealed that Jesus is the beloved of the Father so that when we see him brutally executed by the religious and political powers of this world, we may recall the truth of who he is and the lie that is behind all human violence.

 

When we leave our Mount Tabor Our little “transfigurations” will quickly seem very distant as soon as we return to the business of our lives. It is common for us to ask, “Was it real, did I dream it up?” Our daily routine and life may seem so unbearably different, disconnected. Which is real, which is true?

 

What we experience in the “high places” of our life are the tiny glimpses of the light from Tabor that shines from the midst of our daily life. The transfiguration is not about glory and beauty and communion on another planet, but rather the glory and beauty and communion at the very heart of all existence. But it is on the Cross that this is revealed perfectly to us.

 

The Gospel in a dramatically sober ending tells us that the disciples “saw only Jesus.” They leave the mountain and see only Jesus.

 

They return to their life following the Lord in his preaching healing and see only Jesus.

 

They will risk the rest of their lives and see only Jesus. I don’t want to know anything among but Christ and Christ crucified.

 

In Christianity, truth is never separated from the person.

 

The truth is a person.

 

This is the one who is in all our experiences of transfiguration.

 

Our life, the world, all of history, becomes transfigured before us when we see only Jesus.

 

All things can be understood and seen and received in the uncreated light of the beloved Son of the Father.

 

He is the key that opens all the mysteries to us.

 

This is the deep mystery revealed to us today. Christ among us, the Hope of Eternal Glory on behalf of all and for the sake of all. Kata panda kai dia panda.

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