The Second Sunday of Lent – 3 March – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – Matthew 17:1-9
“In You is the source of life and in Your Light Lord, we see light…” – Psalm 35(36)
“And His face shone as the sun
and His garments became white as snow.”
“THE LORD JESUS,HIMSELF shone bright as the sun, His raiment became white as the snow and Moses and Elias talked with Him (Matt 17:2-3).
Jesus Himself indeed, shone as the sun, signifying that “He is the light which lights every man that comes into the world” (Jn 1:9).
WHAT THIS SUN IS to the eyes of the flesh, that is He, to the eyes of the heart and what that is to the flesh of men, that is He to their hearts.
NOW His raiment is His Church. For if the raiment be not held together by Him Who puts it on, it will fall off. Of this raiment, Paul was, as it were, a sort of last border. For he says himself, “I am the least of the Apostles” (1 Cor 15:9) And in another place, “I am the last of the Apostles.” Now in a garment the border is the last and least part.
WHEREFORE as that woman which suffered from an issue of blood, when she had touched the Lord’s hem, was made whole (Mk 5:34), so the Church, which came from out of the Gentiles, was made whole by the preaching of Paul. What wonder if the Church is signified by white raiment, when you hear the Prophet Isaias saying, “Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow”?(Isa 1:18). Moses and Elias, that is, the Law and the Prophets, what avail they, except they converse with the Lord? Except they give witness to the Lord, who would read the Law or the Prophets? Mark how briefly the Apostle expresses this; “For by the Law is the knowledge of sin but now, the righteousness of God, without the Law is manifested:” behold the sun – “being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets” (Rom 3:20-21), behold the shining of the Sun.
PETER SEES THIS and as a man savouring the things of men says, “Lord, it is good for us to be here” (Matt 17:4) He had been wearied with the multitude, he had found now the mountain’s solitude; there he had Christ, the Bread of the soul. What! should he depart thence again to travail and pains, possessed of a holy love to God and thereby of a good conversation? He wished well for himself and so he added, “If Thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for Thee and one for Moses and one for Elias.”
TO THIS the Lord made no answer but, notwithstanding, Peter was answered. “For while he yet spake, a bright cloud came and overshadowed them” (Matt 17:5). He desired three tabernacles – the Heavenly Answer showed him, that we have One, which human judgement desired to divide.
CHRIST, the Word of God, the Word of God in the Law, the Word in the Prophets. Why, Peter, dost thou seek to divide them? It were more fitting for thee to join them. Thou seekest three; understand, that they are but ONE. …
COME DOWN, PETER, thou were desiring to rest on the mount, come down, “preach the word, be instant in season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Tim 4:2). Endure, labour hard, bear thy measure of torture; that thou may possess what is meant by the white raiment of the Lord, through the brightness and the beauty of an upright labouring in charity. …
THIS PETER UNDERSTOOD NOT YET when he desired to live on the mount with Christ. He was reserving this for thee, Peter, after death. But now He says Himself, “Come down, to labour in the earth; in the earth to serve, to be despised and crucified in the earth.” The Life came down, that He might be slain; the Bread came down, that He might hunger; the Way came down, that Life might be wearied in the Way; the Fountain came down, that He might thirst and dost thou refuse to labour? `Seek not thine own.’ Have charity, preach the truth; so shall thou come to eternity, where thou shalt find security.” – St Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo, Father and Doctor of Grace (Homily on the Transfiguration) (Matthew 17:1-9).