The Light of Glory
“While Jesus was praying, his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white.”
A woman who had never seen the ocean before went on a cruise. On the voyage she was captivated by the variety of colors she saw in different parts of the ocean — azure, turquoise, aquamarine, emerald. She collected samples of each hue in small bottles.
When she returned home, she wanted to show her friends the magnificent colors she had seen. But when she poured the contents of each bottle into separate glasses to show them, she was shocked to see that all they contained was water — colorless, translucent, ordinary water.
Today, we hear of the Transfiguration of Jesus from St. Luke’s gospel.
Through the miracle of the Transfiguration Jesus shows one of the qualities of glorified resurrected bodies — brightness, by which the bodies of the saints shall shine like the sun. According to the words of our Lord recorded in the Gospel of St Matthew: “The righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”
To remove the possibility of doubt on the subject, He exemplifies this in His transfiguration. This quality the apostle St. Paul sometimes calls glory, sometimes brightness in Philippians 3:21: “He will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body: and again in 1 Cor 15:43; “It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory.”
The Israelites in the Old Testament beheld this glory in the desert, in the face of Moses, after he had enjoyed the presence and a conversation with God, which shone with such luster that the Israelites could not look directly on his face, but had to cover it with a veil. This brightness is a sort of radiance reflected by the body from the supreme happiness of the soul. It’s a participation in that bliss which the soul enjoys. This quality will not be common to all in the same degree. All the bodies of the saints will be equally impassible; but the brightness of all will not be the same, for, according to St. Paul in 1 Cor 15:4; “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for stars differs from stars in glory. And so it will be with the resurrection of the body on the last day.”
My brothers and sisters in Christ, what was missing from the woman’s ocean water in my opening story, of course, was light. The light of the sun had brought out the magnificent colors she had seen in the ocean water. Sts. Peter, James and John recognize a remarkable illumination within Jesus — they see the light of God’s glorious divinity dwelling within Him.
The challenge of our discipleship is to allow the glorious light of God’s divinity to “transfigure” our lives and our world, by regular prayer, sacrificial generosity, and charitable works of mercy, which will turn despair into hope, sadness into joy, from anguish into healing, and from estrangement into community.
Mary, Our Mother of Perpetual Light, pray for us!
2-21-2016- 2nd Sunday in Lent – Cycle C
Sunday, February 21st, 2016
Luke 9: 28-36