Sunday of the Transfiguration
March 6, 2011
Text: Matthew 17:1-9
In June 1938, two young men, Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster, introduced the world to its first comic book superhero, Superman. The thing about Superman that might remember from the comic books or the movies or the television programs about him, is that most of the time, he did not go around with his blue and red suit, with the big letter "S" plastered to his chest, and his cape. Most of the time, he walked around in a business suit and tie seeming as mundane as you or me, under his Clark Kent alter ego. But when he saw someone in danger, or when his services were called for, he would slip into the nearest phone booth and come out as Superman, faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall building in a single bound. The key thing is the no one would ever look at the unassuming Clark Kent and think there was anything heroic about him.
In today's Gospel lesson, Jesus reveals a secret identity of sorts. The event is traditionally called the Transfiguration, which is a fancy Latin word that means essentially the same thing as transformation. The Greek version of the word is metamorphosis. Jesus took Peter, James and John up on a mountain one day and there in front of their eyes, he metamorphoses. He changes. "His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light." I don't know about you but I find it very difficult to look at the sun without something to shade my eyes. To say that Jesus' face shone like the sun is saying something pretty remarkable. Here was Jesus as He never had appeared before to His disciples - Jesus in all of His glory as the eternal Son of God, standing together with Moses and Elijah. God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.