On Being “Transfigured”

From the Parish PriestFr. Romey Rosco

On the feast day of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, which is tomorrow, the Gospel Reading is taken from St. Matthew, chapter 17, in which the Holy Apostle tells us that Jesus was transfigured – not that He was transformed into something else, nor was He disfigured in some eerie or horrible way.  The word is taken from the Greek word “metamorphosis” which simply means “change.”

Christ was “changed,” before Peter, James, and John, but in what way?  The Bible is very clear about this: “His face shown like the sun, and His garments became white as light.”  In fact, this change brought into His Holy Presence both Moses (the Lawgiver) and Elijah (the Prophet).  Thus, the three apostles were able to witness to Christ, in whose Person was the completion of the Old Testament Law and the Prophecies.  In fact, when Peter suggested that three tabernacles be set up (one each for Jesus, Moses and Elijah) a voice from heaven told them “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, listen to Him!”  In other words, we only need Jesus – He is indeed the fulfillment of the Hebrew Law and Prophecies.  In His Light, God’s truth is revealed.

In the New Testament, the word for “transfigure” is mentioned only twice, and in both instances it concerns us personally.  In Romans 12:2. St. Paul says: “Do not model yourselves according to the behavior of the world around you, but let your behavior change according to the renewal of your mind.”  He is talking about bettering ourselves through Christian enlightenment.

The second instance is in Second Corinthians, chapter 3, where St. Paul says: “And we all, with our unveiled faces beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into His likeness from one degree of glory to another, for this is the work of the Lord who is the Spirit.”

Yes, tomorrow we will stand in joyful awe of our Almighty God for the event of that one day in His earthly life.  But every day of our lives we can please Him as we grow in His light.

From The Weekly Bulletin, Vol. XXXIX No. 33, 5 August 2012
Sts. Peter & Paul Romanian Orthodox Church, Dearborn Heights MI

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