The Eighth & Last Sunday After Epiphany: “Walking in Transfigured Life”
2 Corinthians 3:12-18
This is the day that the Lord has made and we will rejoice and be glad in it. We seek to know Him more so that we can all the more make Him known. This is the last Sunday of Epiphany, and we are transitioning and preparing into entering the Season of Lent. We embark on our Lenten journey once again and walk the pilgrim way of Lent.
A portion of The Athanasian Creed says, “The Godhead of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is one; the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal.” Eternal means continuous, non-stop, consistent and constant. During the last Sunday of Epiphany last year, I came across an online definition of the word “transfiguration”. One definition says that it is momentary divine radiance, which I don’t agree with. The radiance of God is eternal, constant - not momentary. It is our vision of it that is momentary. We sing, “Behold the Christ,” because He is always the radiance of the glory of God. He is the exact representation of His majesty and glory.
From the perspective of creation, the sun shines continuously every day. There is really no nighttime because as the earth rotates, it also moves or revolves around the sun, which results in day changing to night and the night changing to daytime. The sun, like the Sun of Righteousness, continues to shine. The Son is always shining, but we don’t just see it all the time. Like the Son, God is good all the time.
He is glorious and majestic all the time. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. God is unchanging, but the thing is when we encounter darkness in our lives, we don’t see Him. It is not because He is not there or He is not glorious, but it is because we choose to let the sun set on us. Jesus Christ never not displayed glory; but it is that we're not always aware of it. Always is a character of God. St. John said that we beheld the glory of Jesus, glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. His glory is nonstop.
Last year, I posted in my Facebook page on the last Sunday of Epiphany to read, “The glory was in Jesus Christ’s incarnation, baptism, healing, miracles, teaching, casting out demons, transfiguration and crucifixion.” We don’t see this. In fact, nobody saw the glory of God on the Cross. In the book of Colossians, St. Paul said that on the cross was the victory of Jesus and He displayed the defeat of His enemies publicly; but nobody saw the glory of God – the victory over sin and the defeat of principalities and powers. Everybody was sad because they thought that because Jesus has died, they were defeated. They did not see the glory not because it wasn’t there, but because they were blinded.
The glory of God is always in the Eucharist if we just behold Him. This is why the bread, His body, is raised – to behold His glory; to behold His goodness. To behold His sacrifice for our sake! His glory is in the Church even in its imperfect stage. The glory of God is in us. The glory of God is in the poor. The glory of God is in our daily lives, if we just behold Him and listen to Him just like the Father instructs us, “Listen to Him!”
Listening to God includes the good times and the bad times because God is good all the time. Night to Him is day, where He distinctly shines. The problem with us is we see Him only during our good times, when everything is just doing well. When things don’t happen the way we want it, we ask if God is really good because we are blinded. God’s being good doesn’t change. We may doubt, but our doubt doesn’t invalidate the goodness of God in our lives, and His goodness never stops.
In the poem “Footprints” the person was so thankful that God was walking with him during the good times but during the troubled times of his life, he noticed that there was only one set of footprints. He asked God why He left him, but God replied to him, “I never left you during these times. These are My footprints because I was carrying you during your troubled times.” God is good all the time. He is glorious all the time; He is merciful all the time; He is gracious all the time; but we don’t see it all the time. It is not His fault and this is why we are always encouraged to behold His glory. See His glory come down on us, to come down on our problems and challenges, and to come down on our tempest.
If we are sitting in darkness at this time, we are about to see a great light. Let us open our eyes because the great light is ever present and never changes. It is not like an on and off switch. In 2Corinthians 3:14-18, it says that the veil that keeps us from seeing is removed in Christ. Sometimes, there is a veil that covers our vision, but it is removed in Christ. If it is removed, as we behold the glory of the Lord, we are transformed from one degree of glory to another.
The key to our transformation is to see in Christ. Transformation in Greek is metamorfo, where we get the English word metamorphosis. This reminds us of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. Once we have crawled on the dirt, seeing through Jesus transforms us and gives us wings. It makes us soar – free as a bird - being over all the trials, tests and circumstances and having victory in Christ.
The key is beholding Jesus. In Him, the veil is removed and we see things through the lens of Jesus. It is not through intellectual ability. It is not through our own understanding but through His light. We cannot read Scriptures and argue about it according to our mental ability. The Bible is all about Jesus. Jesus says, “You search the Scriptures because in them you think you have eternal life.” The only way to open Scriptures is through love. In the Book of Revelations, there is a scene where there is a scroll that has been sealed by seven seals. Somebody asked, “Who will open the Book for us?” Then, a Lamb that was slain appeared – Jesus Christ who was crucified – and He broke the seals and opened the Book. This is God’s Word, and we open it through the Lamb that was slain and died.
What was demonstrated in the death of Jesus? Greater love has no one than this: to give the life for our neighbor. Only through love, only through a crucified Christ can we understand Scriptures. This is what will break the seals and crack the Word open. Whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Let us not turn our back toward God because whenever someone turns to God, the veil is removed and he is enlightened. He sees clearly. This is what we are encouraged to do.
God the Father told Peter, “Be silent. Turn off your understanding.” Maybe, we have a good idea and sincere in what we are saying, but sometimes, we just need to be quiet, to be still and know that God is God. In quietness and trust, we need to be still. When Peter, James, and John did this, they saw Jesus alone – Moses and Elijah gone. This is the key to open our understanding of God’s message to us and His will for us. Jesus is the fulfillment of Scriptures. We are told, “This is My Son; listen to Him.” Behold the Christ.
In everything we do, behold the Christ. See things from His perspective, and be still. Even in our prayers, we feel that we have to speak; but in praying, there is more to speaking than listening. Don’t we think that God has better things to say to us than we can? We bring our petitions to God but the truth of the matter is He already knows what we need even before we ask. Sometimes we feel that we need to pressure God that the more we pray about something or the more we talk, the better the chances we get the answer. But we just need to listen to Him in quietness and trust.
Words are cheap because we have an oversupply of it and we hear many voices. What we need to do is to trust God. No matter how sincere, sometimes our words get in the way. Sometimes, our good intentions get in the way when God has something to say. Jesus is what God has to say. We just need to shut off our thinking and realize that God’s will is more important and wiser. God’s will is actually what is good for us.
When I pray, I do it not in understanding but in tongues. My mind is shut off because I honestly tell God, “I don’t know what to pray for. Holy Spirit, You pray through me and use my tongue.” I am trusting God in my prayer. Our worrying, our anxiety and our sincere good intentions sometimes get in the way and these keep us from hearing and seeing. God’s desire is for us to get the best for good.
As we prepare for the Season of Lent, keep this in mind: be still and know that God is God. He knows everything. The very good news for us is that God wants the best for us! We may be going through a storm, we may think that it is nighttime, but this doesn’t have to be. Turn to the Lord, and whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is removed and sees more clearly and beholds the glory of God. He then enjoys the fullness of joy in His presence.
This is what God wants for us because this is the way it is in the kingdom of our God.