THEME: THE BIGGER THE SACRIFICE, THE GREATER THE MIRACLE
READINGS Daniel 7:9-10,13-14/ 2 Peter 1:16-19/ Matthew 17:1-9
The Transfiguration of the Lord
Beloved, you might be familiar with the saying that ‘the bigger the risk, the higher the returns’ (on the investment). Similarly, behind the story of the transfiguration is the message that ‘the Bigger the Sacrifice, the Greater the Miracle.’ To appreciate this message one has to start with an incident which took place at the Sea of Galilee just a few months into Jesus’ public ministry.
The incident occurred on a bad day of fishing expedition by Peter and his companions. Jesus required them to make a sacrifice on a day they were not in a good mood: they were to offer Him their boat as a ‘pulpit’. Happily, they neither lamented about the day’s bad business nor ignored Jesus, but willingly made the sacrifice. In the end, they enjoyed the miracle of probably the biggest fish catch in their fishing career! The ‘magnitude’ of the miracle could be seen against the backdrop that it occurred during the day time and not at dusk/dawn as usually required for such fishing!
Furthermore, Jesus soon asked for another sacrifice: Peter and his colleagues were to leave the source of their livelihood and become fishers of men and women. Because they made this bigger sacrifice, they witnessed greater miracles as they followed Jesus: the multiplication of loaves, sights given to the blind, the lame made to walk, the dead raised to life, etc. The greatest miracle was, however, yet to come!
The greatest miracle entailed the resurrection of Jesus, the transfiguration of our deaths, with Peter and his colleagues becoming ‘princes’ in heaven, and all of us becoming citizens of heaven! This required the greatest sacrifice! And only one person could fittingly offer that sacrifice: Jesus, the Son of God. He had to die for our sins. Hence, about a week before the transfiguration, after Peter had identified Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God, the disciples were told by the Lord of His impending suffering, death and resurrection. The reaction of the disciples, especially Peter, showed that they could not accept the suffering and death of their Master. However, in the transfiguration that followed, Peter, James and John would taste, for a short while, the glorious miracle which would follow the greatest sacrifice!
Beloved, because of the greatest sacrifice of Jesus, you and I have access to the greatest miracle: our death shall be transfigured, not for a while, but for eternity; not on an earthly mountain, but in the glorious heaven itself! Let us, therefore, be ever grateful to the Father who offered His only beloved Son, to Jesus who died for us, and to the Holy Spirit who gives us the faith to appreciate and accept these mysteries. Amen!
By Very Rev. Fr. John Louis