HOMILY


This vision of Christ glorified was surely a very special privilege for those apostles who were with Jesus. It was an experience they would never forget. “We saw his glory,” St. John says later in his gospel, which he wrote 60 years after the fact. John also refers to this experience in his letters. St. Peter, in his letter, mentions this outstanding incident: “For we were not following fictitious tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honor and glory.”

This glimpse of Christ’s glory was given to these apostles to strengthen and encourage them for the terrible test of faith that was to come, the passion and death of their Lord and Savior. This is the reason this gospel is used by the Church in early Lent, to keep our eyes on the journeys end. To mortify oneself is to subdue the body of its needs by self-denial. If we are truly mortifying ourselves we can earn a glorious ending. This story of the glory of Jesus’ divinity helps to encourage us to continue, we are reminded that the One we are following, the One whose voice we are listening to, is none other than the Son of God, full of power and majesty. Today there are voices of many false prophets all around us, telling us to enjoy ourselves in this life, to “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we all die.” — Yes, death is inevitable, but where shall we go then? What happens after that death occurs? This is the question the modern prophets fail to answer or even to contemplate, for them either we all go to heaven or death is the end of existence.

The Transfiguration is one of many of the incontrovertible proofs that Jesus was truly the Son of God, which we have in the gospels. We also have twenty centuries of history of the Church he founded. Were he not divine this Church would long since have crumbled and fallen into disarray from the many vicious attacks from outside and within, which it has undergone, a good example is the theological warfare going on within her today. Bishops disagreeing with one another on doctrines of the Church and the Pope disagreeing with the bishops.

Today Christians are the most persecuted and attacked people on this planet, Led by the 1.2 billion Catholics across all cultures. But Christ is God and the Church has divine protection and assistance. The Church has always been strengthened by the blood of the martyrs and it has grown during times of persecution. Therefore it will go on to the end of time struggling to continue the work of this glorified Son, in whom the Father is well pleased.

So let us be thankful to hear today these words of encouragement and this vision of his glory, which he gave to his apostles and through them to us. It was for them and for us a foretaste of the glory that truly awaits us for all eternity. This struggle of Lent and this struggle of life is not easy, as we face the world, the flesh and the devil we must stay to the narrow way. Much of our world is marching down the wide and easy way to condemnation. Our human nature is weak, but our loving Savior is ever beside us to whisper in our ear, “do not be afraid,” have faith in me. So as we go forward and feel weighed down by the weight of the crosses that sometimes are about to crush us, let us think of the glory of Jesus on Mt. Tabor who a few weeks later faced his own passion and cross lovingly for our sake.    

 © JOSEPH MEILINGER 2021