Homily – August 6, 2017

Since the fourth century M. Tabor in Galilee has been identified as the sacred space where Jesus was transfigured before his three stunned and overwhelmed disciples; Peter, James and John. In November of 2010 a group of parishioners from the parish went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Part of the pilgrimage was a trip up to the top of Mt. Tabor. I don’t know how long it took Jesus, Peter, James and John to get to the top of Tabor but it took a few hours. Matthew writes that Jesus took his three confidants up a high mountain, he didn’t say to the top.

In 1924 the Franciscan Friars built a beautiful church at the top of Mt. Tabor. It is an impressive building, the central church and two small chapels, one of Moses and one for Elijah. Peter’s dream was realized. The view from the mountain is awesome.

On that mountain Peter, James and John were given a glimpse of the true nature of Jesus – he was transfigured in their sight, his face was brighter than the sun, even the clothes he wore were dazzling white.

The presence of Moses and Elijah representing the law and the prophets was to let us know that Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets.

The primary purpose of this event, seeing Jesus in his glory, was to prepare them for the coming scandal of Jesus’s crucifixion. Remembering this vision of the glorified Jesus would save them from losing their faith in him as they saw him so diminished, dying naked on the cross.

Jesus told them they were to keep all this to themselves until he was raised from the dead. They wondered what this raised from the dead was all about.

Every one of us would agree with Peter’s outburst, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here.’ What a wonder, what a gift!

These three, Peter, James and John are the same three Jesus took with him in the darkness of night into the garden of Gethsemane. There they saw another Jesus, on his knees, sweating blood, praying his heart out, pleading, ‘Father if it is possible, if you can think of another way, let this chalice pass me by. Peter, James and John did not want to see this, they escaped in sleep. No one said, ‘it is good for us to be here.’ Yet that was where Jesus wanted them to be as a source on comfort and support.

Where are we when circumstances in our lives; serious illness, loss of a job, family conflicts, or any number of other situation invite us into our own Gethsemane’s? Can we trust that it is good for us to be there? Can we find the faith to say, ‘not my will but yours be done?