- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

Homily for August 6, 2020

Fr. John Denburger, OCSO


(2 Peter 1: 16 – 19; Ps 97; Matthew 17: 1 – 9)

The sight of Jesus being transfigured exceeded anything they had ever seen of Him beforehand. They had witnessed miracles of healing, restoring people to life, of the multiplication of food, of Jesus walking on water – but in none of these did His appearance change so drastically, so gloriously.

With a bright cloud overshadowing them and hearing a voice, they fell prostrate with exceeding fear. Then Jesus, in mercy, touched them, reassured them with “Rise and do not be afraid” and when they did, there was Jesus alone. As quickly as the transfiguration came, so quickly it was over.

What if, coming down the mountain, Jesus turned to Peter with a question He had asked once before – “Peter, who do you say I am?” Would Peter have repeated “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”with a more pronounced conviction, with greater awe? or perhaps, simply looked at Jesus lost for words?

After the Resurrection as Peter proclaimed the good news and recounted his own experience of the Lord Jesus, surely he spoke often of this awesome event. In the reading from the Second Letter of St. Peter, we heard something of those words: “…we were eyewitnesses of His majesty, He received honor and glory from God the Father.” The three were encompassed by majestic glory – an unforgettable grace as “a lamp shining in a dark place.”

An incomprehensible grace – to be an eyewitness of the Lord’s majesty and so we are. The transfiguration of the Lord for us each day is from majestic splendor to incomprehensible humility in a piece of unleavened bread and a cup of wine. Without faith, these appear as almost nothing but with faith, God’s gift to us, this bread, this wine become the Christ before whom Peter, James, John fell prostrate in fear. Hidden majesty, hidden presence – no less real – not seen but experienced.

Each day – as eyewitnesses, we can gratefully profess: “Lord, it is good that we are here!”May this supremely unique “good” continue to transform us into the likeness of God the Son, the living lamp shining in a dark place, whatever that dark place be within us.