HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION
THEME: Coming DOWN the Mountain
BY: Deacon Bill Frere
HOMILY FOR SATURDAY AUGUST 6 2022
Gospel – Luke 9:28b-36
In the Old Testament, mountains are mentioned over 500 times. It was a place where you encountered the divine, where you were closer to God. Mount Ararat – where Noah’s ark came to rest and God made the first covenant. Mt. Sinai where Moses met God, received Ten Commandments and his face shone white. The Mount of Olives where Jesus often went to pray. Mount Zion where the Temple was built. Mount Hebron where God makes his covenant with Abram. Mount of Beatitudes on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus gave us the New Law. And Mount Tabor where today’s Gospel story of the Transfiguration takes place.
Mount Tabor is a very high, very steep mountain; it has a treacherous, windy, switch-back road with no guard rails, barely enough room for 1 vehicle, much less 2-way traffic. It is better experienced with your eyes shut. But the view from the top!!!! Spectacular! And the time and effort to get there – well worth it!
We always seem to focus on the climb up the mountain and the experience of the Transfiguration at the top. But what about coming back down! Climbing back down to earth can also be treacherous. If we aren’t slow and careful, it can happen at breakneck speed and accidents are common. The Apostles have just experienced the divine, the heavenly. Imagine their reluctance to return to the world! How difficult it must have been for them to leave the mountaintop after what they experienced! How tough it must have been for them to come back down to earth.
Think about it. Remember that one perfect moment we wished would last forever? A wedding? Sitting around a campfire under the stars? What about that wonderful vacation spot that we just didn’t want to leave? Or that moment when we truly felt the presence of God, particularly when we needed it the most! Remember how hard it was to come back to the real world and back to our daily lives? I wonder if the Apostles had the same concerns. How can I possibly go back to human life after experiencing the divine? Maybe that is why they wanted to set up tents – to stay there, to keep on living with the heavenly.
As much as we need to be willing to climb the mountain to experience the Lord, we must also find the strength and the faith to carry that experience with us as we travel through this earthly life and to share His message and His love with others.
Great Spirit, help me today to appreciate not only the Kingdom to come but this earthly life and the wonders of Your creation.
Deacon Bill Frere