|St- Andre-Rublev's Saviour|
In the care of the Ecumenical Franciscan Order
Homily preached at Winmalee on 2nd March 2014
by Br. Luke written by Br Andrew
by Br. Luke written by Br Andrew
Light and Cloud transfigured Him - for extra notes go to What does Messiah Mean?
Old Testament reading Exodus 24:12-18
Epistle 2 Peter 1: 16-21
Gospel Matthew 17:1-9
These are musings derived from a now dim recall of the Sermon preached by Br.Luke on the Feast of the Transfiguration, 2nd March last.
I have linked to the readings to assist with your understanding my cloudy recalling of the Light shed that day on the beginning of Jesus’ final journey to Jerusalem.
The following week would be the first Sunday of Lent, the beginning of the Churches' Penitential Season; 40 days in length. 1
In the first reading we join Moses on Mount Sinai during another 40 day period,
The appearance of the LORD’s glory was like devouring fire on the mountain top. Moses entered into the midst of the cloud, and ascended the mountain; and he was there on the mountain forty days and forty nights and his face became so dazzlingly bright in God's reflection that it was forever after veiled. His purpose there to receive the Commandments and the Law, to return with them to the Children of Israel, who, waiting below, had witnessed him entering the cloud, had seen the dazzling lightning of God's glory.
“And when Jesus died on the cross the veil in the Temple was rent and no more is humanity separated from God...”
It was but six days after Peters confession of Faith that Jesus took him along with James and John, with him up an high mountain by themselves, perhaps mount Tabor- there, like Moses he was transfigured before them, not just his face but his entire being. His face shone like the sun, and his garments became as white as the light. Behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them talking with him.
The response of Peter with his foot shaped mouth indicates that at least he recognized the other two as Moses and Elijah, representatives of the Law and the Prophets, but how, was there a Midrash identikit accompanying the oral tradition?
Thinking that the time was now at hand Peter wanted to settle everyone into booths. While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them. And see, a voice came out of the cloud, which said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.” When they heard it, they fell on their faces, and were very afraid. Jesus touched them and they raised their eyes to find themselves alone with him.
As they made their way down the mountain Jesus promised them not to say anything about what they had seen until after He had risen from the dead. They certainly listened since we certainly don’t read that they did speak of it before the appointed time.
Indeed, later in his Epistle Peter says
“For we did not follow cleverly devised fables,” but of prophecy, being moved by the holy Spirit when we revealed to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, but we were actually eyewitnesses of his splendor For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, “This is my much-loved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” We heard this voice come out of heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain. Peter then adds one doesn’t choose prophecy the Spirit chooses you.
In our passages that day Old and New Covenant have met to fulfil the Law and the Prophets in Jesus Christ, witnessed by the children of Israel and by the Disciples of the Messiah .Cloud and fire have played their part in transfiguring the face of Prophet and Messiah and Peter, the Rock upon whom is built the Church has heard from out of the mouth of God Almighty, that he who is to die is Son of God indeed. It is an awful thought!
Our Psalm on the day, Psalm 2 is one of the Messianic Psalms and in reading it we find another face of the Messiah – the Messiah of the third temptation of Br Simeon’s Sermon last week.
7 I will tell of the decree. The LORD said to me, “You are my son. Today I have become your father.
8 Ask of me, and I will give the nations for your inheritance, the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron. You shall dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
10 Now therefore be wise, you kings. Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
for his wrath will soon be kindled. Blessed are all those who take refuge in him.
1. Information: - The number forty had great symbolic meaning to the Jews and today among Christians and Muslims as well. The number forty to the Jews is a number that, when used in terms of time, represents a period of probation, trial, and chastisement (not to be confused with judgment which is represented by the number 9).
As the product of 5 and 8, it also signifies grace (5) ending in revival or a new beginning (8). Thus, when 40 is referencing a period of probation, it also often coincides with the meaning derived from the factors 5 and 8. When it relates to enlarged dominion or extended rule, then it is related to the factors of 4 and 10, with 4 representing the creation of something and 10 representing perfection and completeness.
Daven Hiskey, August 2 2010,today I found out.com, The Biblical Expression “40 Days and 40 Nights” Just Means a “Really Long Time” Copyright © 2012 -Vacca Foeda Media, accessed 13 March 2014,<web://todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/08/the-biblical-expression-40-days-and-40-nights-just-means-a-really-long-time/