Reflecting glory

Last Sunday after Epiphany
14 February 2010
Last Epiphany C (RCL)

Exodus 34:29-35
Psalm 99
2 Corinthians 3:12 — 4:2
Luke 9:28-43

The readings are full to overflowing this week. When Moses comes down from the mountain, he isn’t aware that his face is shining. He veils his face so as not to frighten the people. Every time he goes into the tent of meeting, he unveils his face, which glows after speaking to God. So, there is Jesus on the top of the mountain, with his face glowing and his clothes sparkling white. Moses and Elijah are with him — both of whom had received visions of the divine glory. Luke’s telling of the resurrection has an empty cave and two angels (rather than Mark’s one young man). Jesus is the holy of holies, the presence of God, unveiled. No wonder the veil of the temple is torn in two — we have entered, even if we slept through it.

And the RCL has us read the story of the healing of the demon-possessed boy. Again, Luke changes Mark’s story to give us the hint. The boy is his father’s “only child” — just like Jesus is the only-born. Jesus heals the boy and restores him to his father. Echoes of the prodigal son. Jesus us restores us all to God. The “perverse and faithless” generation couldn’t heal the boy, becuase they couldn’t see the glory of God in him. The trick to healing anyone is seeing the image of God therin.

And the Paul. What a wonderful passage from 2 Corinthians. Why have we never read this before with the Gospel account of the Transfiguration? All of us, with faces unveiled, seeing the glory of the Lord as reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. I am reminded of Dante’s Paradiso, the last ten cantos or so, when he has the vision of the rose, with the saints enthroned around it, each reflecting the glory of the Lord to one another. Where do we see God’s glory? In community. In each other. In ourselves. How closely are we looking? And the progress in Christian life helps that image become truer and truer.

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