Eucharistic Readings for the Transfiguration August 6
“Then from the cloud came a voice that said, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” (Luke 9:35)
This Gospel reading tells us that Jesus takes with him Peter, James and John up a mountain and is Transfigured before them. They got to see the reality of who Jesus is. They got to see Moses and Elijah, the Law and the Prophets, stand before Jesus, God Incarnate.
Peter is so moved by this experience that he speaks out of his hysteria about making booths to represent the three of them, Moses, Elijah and Jesus. The Presence of God touched all of their senses. The cloud overshadowed them causing them to breathe in God as well as touch their skin. The vision of what was taking place pierced their eyes making an indelible mark on their minds. And finally, the very voice of God spoke, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”
Peter never forgot this event. Even though he would claim not to know Jesus at the arrest of Jesus, but the knowledge of who Jesus is was never forgot. Later in his second letter Peter would write, “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, my Beloved,* with whom I am well pleased.’ We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.” (2 Peter 1:16 – 18)
The Gospels of Matthew (Mt. 3:17) and Mark (Mk. 1:11) also carry the words “You are my Son in whom I am well pleased,” but the words seem to be directed at Jesus only. In any case, we have the additional words today of “Listen to him.” This “listen to him” is understood to be obey him in the Hebrew context and I might add, ours as well.
This validation of who Jesus is has been handed down to you and me. This Gospel always comes up on the last Sunday of Epiphany as a segue into Lent regardless of the Year (Matt. 17:1 -19; Mk. 9:2 – 9; and Lk. 9: 28 – 36). For many years I preached the “Pilot Light” sermon wherein I told of the cleaning of an old gas stove used in my mother’s restaurant in the 1950’s. In this restaurant we catered mostly to college students. But there was always a Summer slowdown when school was out. This was a time for cleaning the old stove. The stove had to be disassembled to make a thorough cleaning. I was young then but I was shown the “Pilot Light.” I was amazed that from this little flicker of light that resembled a small candle burning in cave, made possible the cooking of all the foods for the whole year for students who came from two universities. It was during the cleansing and the de-greasing of that stove that the light was carried to start other lights in order that they might do their work. How appropriate for coming to Lent. Also, how appropriate to see who Jesus really is, the Light revealed. I like singing “This Little Light of Mine” when I use this sermon. Let us then listen to him and obey him.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to (and through) God’s people. John+