Transfiguration - Homily
Recently, we’ve been having a great discussion on the blog site about modest dress. Many people have written some excellent questions and comments, including two female teens who gave some good insights into why dressing modestly is important. The discussion led to how we should dress for Church. Someone asked, ‘Fr Greg, is there a dress code for Church?’ I said, “yes, wear your Sunday best”. Please check out the blog site for this and other discussions. People have made some really good comments and questions… it is really good stuff.
In today’s Gospel, we hear about the clothing of Jesus. He goes up on the mountain with Peter, James, and John, and among other things, “his clothes become dazzling white”. This vision fulfills so many Scriptures, including the first reading from the prophet Daniel. There are so many parts of the Old Testament and New Testament that speak of the radiance of the clothing of the Son of Man, and how it reveals the glory that will be his in the next life. So, this feast of the Transfiguration is a preview of the glory that Christ will have in its fullness in the Kingdom of Heaven.
If we use clothing to represent our souls, can our clothes become dazzling white? Can we be transfigured? Can we share in the glory of Christ? Well, on the day of our Baptism, this is what our soul looked like (I hold up a white t-shirt). Clean, pure, dazzling white. Ok, so maybe this shirt is not dazzling white…but it is clean! Actually… my laundry is washed here by others, and it’s done quite often. That takes some getting used to…! Anyway, the shirt IS clean!
But, we don’t stay this way for too long, unfortunately. As we get older, we start to make choices that aren’t the best for our souls. We begin to put dirt and filth on our souls. We lose our dazzling whiteness. (I hold up a white t-shirt with some dirt and mud on it) This is what venial sin does to our soul. Sins like gossiping, cursing, dressing immodestly, being an Eagles or a Giants fan...!
Now, very unfortunately, some of us, maybe many of us, make choices that are very bad for our souls. We do things that are seriously wrong and bring serious filth, dirt, and junk to our souls. (I hold up a white t-shirt that is completely covered with dirt and mud) This is what a soul in a state of mortal sin looks like. Yuk!! We can lose our whiteness completely due to sins like deliberately missing Mass on Sunday, drunkenness, fornication, being a Cowboys fan...!
If our souls are in either state, can we become dazzling white? Yes, through Him (I point to the tabernacle) and in Him. If we come to Mass looking like this (I hold up the dirty shirt), we ask God to forgive our sins (at the beginning of every Mass). Then, when we receive the Eucharist in Holy Communion, we go back to our pews looking like this (I hold up the dazzling white shirt). If our souls look like this (I hold up the shirt caked with mud) and we go to Confession, we confess our sins to Christ through the person of the priest. No matter how much filth we have, no matter how long it’s been, if we are truly sorry, Christ will forgive all of our sins. We walk out of the Confessional, and look like this (I hold up the dazzling white shirt). We cannot do this on our own, though. Only Christ can make us dazzling white. The Gospel says that no human cleaner on Earth could have made his clothes that white. Only He can make us totally clean and pure.
In a few minutes, Christ will appear to us in a different way. Just as he appeared differently on the mountain to Peter, James, and John, so he will appear differently to us on this mountain, the altar of God. He will appear to us in the form of bread and wine. As I elevate Him, let each of us call to mind the words of the Father from the Gospel: ‘“This is my beloved Son, listen to Him”…look at Him…through Him, may you all know that I love you’.