• Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18 • Philippians 3:17—4:1 • Luke 9:28b-36 • 2 Lent C ‘13 •
Print PDF: Weekly Homily 02.24.2013
It is at least ten years since I clamped a pair of snow skis to my feet. I was exhilarated by the experience of swooshing down a mountainside with deep power snow billowing up and around me. I never could find the right words to describe that experience. Many of you are married. I suspect you lack the words to communicate the meaning of your marriage. So often we must rely on metaphors or comparisons to describe profound moments of life.
Every year on the Second Sunday of Lent we hear Matthew, Mark or Luke describe an experience we traditionally call the “Transfiguration.” Like me skiing down a mountainside or you in your marriage, the evangelists found it difficult to reconstruct the experience that gave rise to this astonishing story. Consider a few details in Luke’s narrative.
The initial followers of Jesus saw something in him that most folks had not seen. Luke was moved to express that something. So he wrote this. “as Jesus was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightening.” In later years some in the Christian community thought these words implied “divinity.”
Luke saw something in Jesus that others like Peter, James and John had not seen. The three “were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake . . . they saw.” These three and their companions were slow to understand Jesus. Once “they saw,” they were attracted to Jesus and followed him.
This narrative, as everything in the written gospels, calls us to wake up and to enter another world. That world is an entirely “new reality.” Jesus called it “the reign of God.”
Your willingness and decision to gather with us around Word and Sacrament tells me you already have or at least are beginning to awaken to the mystery of God and are beginning to see what is real and alive and good in the here and now.
We see or are beginning to see that it was not only the face or clothing of Jesus that “became bright as a flash of lightning.” As the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins tells us, “the world is charged with the grandeur of God.” This “reality” we name “human” is filled with that Gracious Mystery emerging in and among us.
This season of Lent draws us beyond all that seems so ordinary. Lent draws us deeper into the Christ Mystery, reminding us that all “reality” — all that is, is beautiful, magnificent, and awesome in the fullest meaning of that word. “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.”
It has taken billions of years for us to evolve to our present state. Now we are like turtles returning to their place of birth. We are seeking our way back to our ultimate home — that Gracious Mystery who created us. We find peace only when we discover our relationship with that Gracious Mystery. We view our lives either created and loved into existence by the Gracious One who desires our well being, or we see life as nothing more than a random biological incident.
Like Peter, James and John our dominant culture and most people are “sleepy.” We hunger for God but are unable to see that “the world is charged with the grandeur of God.”
Our peers and the cultures in which we live need people like us who have or at least are beginning to awaken to the mystery of God and beginning to see what is real and alive and good in the here and now. To the degree that we, like Peter, James and John, have “become fully awake and able to see,” to that degree we are able to help others wake up and enter another world, an entirely “new reality” that Jesus called “the reign of God.” We are able to help others see and open themselves to the beautiful, magnificent and awesome world in which we live.
Jesus of Nazareth did not create a new religion. He lived, taught and healed so that all of us would become fully awake and begin to see beyond all that seems so ordinary.