Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Today we conclude the season of Epiphany, the season of manifestations of the power and glory of God in Jesus Christ. We started on the Sunday after Christmas with the celebration of the visit of the Magi when the Son of God was shown to foreigners from the east of Jerusalem. Then we talked about the Baptism of Jesus, when the voice of the almighty Father said from the heavens that "this is my beloved Son" and the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus in the form of a dove. Let us hear the voice of the Father again in the last story of Epiphany, the account of the Transfiguration.
What else did the three disciples see on the high mountain? St. Matthew says: "And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and his garment became white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, speaking with Him. "(Matthew 17: 2-3)
Through Moses, God liberated the Israel people from slavery in Egypt and made His covenant with them before Mount Sinai. Elijah was the greatest of the prophets before John the Baptist who called the people to remember the covenant and repent of their sins.
Our reading of the Old Testament (Exodus 34: 29-35) speaks of what happened when Moses went up to the holy mountain of Sinai. "And it came to pass, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tables of the law in his hand, as he was going down from the mountain, he did not know that the complexion of his face was shining, after he had spoken with Him. And Aaron and all the children of Israel looked at Moses, and behold, his face was shining; and they were afraid to approach him.”
The people were frightened to see the glory of God shining in the face of Moses. The three disciples were also frightened by the Transfiguration of Jesus. The Scriptures speak of wonders and miracles, experiences beyond the common experience of human beings. When we find things that we can not understand or explain, we react with fear, like the protagonists in a horror movie.
"Then Peter answered and said to Jesus: Lord, it is good that we are here; if you want, let's do three tabernacles here; one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. " For all three, Moses and Elijah represented all the prophets of the Old Testament who pointed to the Messiah, the Savior promised by God. The presence of the two prophets meant that Jesus was the same Savior.
To erase all doubt, the voice of the Father came and the disciples in their terror prostrated themselves. But they heard the voice of Jesus, "Do not be afraid". When they raised their eyes, they saw only Jesus. And He said to them, "Do not tell anyone about the vision, until the Son of Man rises from the dead." The three were frightened at first, but later they did not want to go down the mountain, but to live in light of divine glory forever. However, Jesus told them it is still not the hour The way to the cross awaited Him, and after His death, the victory and the greater glory of the resurrection. Matthew did not see the Transfiguration with his own eyes, only Peter, James and John. But all the disciples were witnesses to the risen Christ.
We have Peter's personal testimony about the Transfiguration that applies to much more. "Because we have not made known to you the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, following artificial fables; but as having seen with our own eyes his majesty. Because he received honor and glory from God the Father, when a great voice was sent to him from the magnificent glory saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am content. And we heard this voice sent from heaven, when we were with Him on the holy mountain. "
Today, many people say that stories of the Bible are good stories to teach values to children, but we can not interpret them literally, as things that really happened. But, Pedro says, of course we can. With his own eyes he saw the glory of God in Christ. But we do not have only Peter's personal testimony; also of all the prophets and the other apostles in the written Word of God.
"We also have the sure word of prophecy, to which you do well to be attentive as to a lamp that shines in a dark place until the day dawns, and the morning star rises in your hearts; understanding this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of private interpretation; because the prophecy did not come in time past by the will of man; but the holy men of God spoke by being led by the Holy Spirit. "
The fashion today is an attitude called "postmodernism" that says something is the truth for me, another is the truth for you, because everything is symbolism. In this we do not have the security of faith and hope. The surest word to believe is not a subjective experience, but the Scriptures inspired by the Holy Spirit and backed by much evidence after century. This is a torch for us between the restlessness and the uncertainty of this world.
Where is our holy mountain? We are in the presence of God each time and in each place we gather around the preaching of the Word and the administration of the sacraments. When we raise our eyes and our voices, we only see Jesus. This is our epiphany, all the year of every year until the return of the Lord. In this we have the peace that all understanding passes over. Amen.
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